Sunday, July 31, 2011

More settled science not needing debate: Direction of climate change in Antarctica unknown

A paper published last month in the journal Climatic Change reveals "the magnitude and even direction of recent Antarctic climate change is still debated." The paper states the Antarctic Peninsula is warming, but that "in continental Antarctica [where by far the most ice is located] a cooling trend was recently detected." Also confounding, the surface temperature of permafrost areas is warming, "although the air temperature was almost stable."

A permafrost warming in a cooling Antarctica?

Mauro Guglielmin and Nicoletta Cannone

Abstract: The magnitude and even direction of recent Antarctic climate change is still debated because the paucity of long and complete instrumental data records. While along Antarctic Peninsula a strong warming coupled with large retreat of glaciers occurred, in continental Antarctica a cooling was recently detected. Here, the first existing permafrost data set longer than 10 years recorded in continental Antarctica is presented. Since 1997 summer ground surface temperature showed a strong warming trend (0.31°C per year) although the air temperature was almost stable. The summer ground surface temperature increase seemed to be influenced mainly by the increase of the total summer radiation as confirmed also by the increase of the summer thawing degree days. In the same period the active layer exhibited a thickening trend (1 cm per year) comparable with the thickening rates observed in several Arctic locations where air warming occurred. At all the investigated depths permafrost exhibited an increase of mean annual temperature of approximately 0.1°C per year. The dichotomy between active layer thickness and air temperature trends can produce large unexpected and unmodelled impacts on ecosystems and CO2.


  1. Is there an email address where one may send a message to the owner of this blog?

    Sorry to post here with this question.

    Steve B.

  2. No sorry, unfortunately there are some scary & threatening people out there regarding the climate change issue, so I don't feel safe publishing an email address.

    However, if you want to send a private message, post a comment and state at the beginning PRIVATE MESSAGE - DO NOT PUBLISH I will receive whatever you wish to communicate without publishing it. Thanks


    Thanks, First, let me say that I am not a math guy. On various blogs, I have been reading posts by a fellow that goes by the name of Gord. I read some of his posts at Dr. Spencer's site, some at climate skeptics, and some here.

    I might sound like a doofus, but I have a question regarding EM vectors as he describes them and had no idea of how I might contact him to ask my question.

    If I can simply post it here along with an Email address, might you forward it to him and get an answer back to me?

    This might sound very basic, and might indeed be very basic and the answer may be right in front of my face but I can't see it. I believe I have the gist of his arguments regarding the direction of propagation of EM fields and that photons can not move "upstream" so to speak against a more powerful EM field. Most of his arguments along this line, that I have seen, regard backradiation or the unphysicality of it. It makes a sort of instinctive sense to me but it raises a question in my mind.

    The question regards the moon. If I can see the moon, then clearly it is because photons from the moon have passed through the EM field radiated by the earth and reached my eye. I am guessing that is because the surface of the moon is warmer than the surface of the earth and therefore the energy reflected by the moon can make it to the surface of the earth.

    If I am correct on that point, it begs the question of why the earth can be seen from the moon if the surface of the moon is hotter than the surface of the earth.

    If you can answer the question I would appreciate it, or if you could ask Gord if you are in contact with him and either let him answer or forward an answer.

    I am not a scary or threatening wacko in spite of my limited skills in math and physics.

    Any help would be appreciated. I am not much of a computer guy either so I don't know whether you can send an email without giving away your own email address. If you can, my email address is


    Steve B.


  4. Steve B.,

    Thanks for your private message. For scientific questions in the future, please just allow it to be published in comment form on this blog, even if it is off topic, so that anyone can see it and comment on it without anyone having to publish their email addresses. Thanks.

    Here is my answer, but if not satisfactory, publish a blog comment & I will forward to Gord to see if he wishes to comment:

    Photons/light waves reflected from the Moon are visible to the retina because they cause a photochemical reaction not requiring heating of photoreceptors.

    There could even be some heating of the retina from the reflected light off the Moon, since the origin of the light is the Sun.

    Now take the case of snakes that are able to see prey in the low energy infrared. In order to do this, they have evolved a special cooling system that lowers the temperature of their IR detecting organ below their body temp so they can see prey in the IR.