The most beautiful dagger of them all!

This is the wake-up call that we humans simply can’t afford to sleep through.


This stunningly beautiful image is of an Antarctic iceberg, with a cavity. It belies the power of ice to destroy the world that we currently experience, and that “we” is not just humans but vast tracts of nature and, of course, our dogs.

So what has got “my knickers in a twist“? Answer: A reminder that the potential melting of the Antarctic ice sheet is a real and tangible threat; something that mankind has understand within the next few years.

First, let me share some of the material from the website of Antarctic Glaciers.

Ice shelves, icebergs and sea ice

Ice shelves

An ice shelf is a floating extension of land ice. The Antarctic continent is surrounded by ice shelves. They cover >1.561 million km2 (an area the size of Greenland)[1], fringing 75% of Antarctica’s coastline, covering 11% of its total area and receiving 20% of its snow.

The difference between sea ice and ice shelves is that sea ice is free-floating; the sea freezes and unfreezes each year, whereas ice shelves are firmly attached to the land. Sea ice contains icebergs, thin sea ice and thicker multi-year sea ice (frozen sea water that has survived several summer melt seasons, getting thicker as more ice is added each winter).

You can see the flat, floating ice shelf is almost featureless.
You can see this flat, floating ice shelf is almost featureless.

With this in mind, let me turn now to a recent post from Patrice Ayme in which he spells out very clearly the metaphorical dagger hanging above all our heads.


Ice Sheets Melt: Academics Waking Up; New York Times In Denial

There has never been a more important moral, philosophical, military, civilizational, psychological, sociological and economic issue than the concerted holocaust of the biosphere by Homo Sapiens, presently passing one tipping point after another. Thus I will not present excuses for keeping abreast of any advance in understanding in the field. Even if it is just to confirm what I have long said.

The first scientific paper including computerized models of ice sheets melt predicts the obvious: if we burn all PROVEN fossil fuels reserves, ice will completely melt, all over Earth. Yet it is a big surprise to most scientists

This is humanity as a geologic force,” said Ken Caldeira, a researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California, an author of the paper. “We’re not a subtle influence on the climate system – we are really hitting it with a hammer.”

Nice to read. Nietzsche was doing philosophy with a hammer, we went further: we are doing climate with a hammer. Hopefully, it will crack soon: nothing like a great catastrophe to bring further fascism. Nihilism is bad thing, naivety, even worse. To please the powers that be, and thus to be taken seriously, serious climate scientists have made unwarranted, profoundly unscientific, over-optimistic declarations about the ice sheets. Now their time is up. In truth the GreenHouse emissions are completely out of control, and still increasing… At a geological scale, every year:

50 Gigatons Per Year: This GreenHouse Is Bigger Than CO2 Alone.

I didn’t expect it would go so fast,” Dr. Caldeira said. “To melt all of Antarctica, I thought it would take something like 10,000 years.” Didn’t they all. Why? Because only then would one be invited at the White House. Thinking correctly means, first, to think in a way that pleases those with power.

“Combustion of available fossil fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic Ice Sheet” [Ricarda Winkelmann, Anders Levermann, Andy Ridgwell,, Ken Caldeira]:

“The Antarctic Ice Sheet stores water equivalent to 58 meters in global sea-level rise. We show in simulations using the Parallel Ice Sheet Model that burning the currently attainable fossil fuel resources is sufficient to eliminate the ice sheet. With cumulative fossil fuel emissions of 10,000 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC), Antarctica is projected to become almost ice-free with an average contribution to sea-level rise exceeding 3 m per century during the first millennium. Consistent with recent observations and simulations, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet becomes unstable with 600 to 800 GtC of additional carbon emissions. Beyond this additional carbon release, the destabilization of ice basins in both West and East Antarctica results in a threshold increase in global sea level. Unabated carbon emissions thus threaten the Antarctic Ice Sheet in its entirety with associated sea-level rise that far exceeds that of all other possible sources.”

The famous Doctor Hansen and his collaborators upset the establishment two months ago by predicting a rise of three meters within 85 years (they use the reasoning I have used before, namely that paleontological data show sea level rise of 5 to 9 meters, with a rise of just one degree Celsius; actually the reasoning was obvious since 2009, when I pointed out that “2C Is Too Much“). The new paper potentially confirms Hansen’s findings. As I said, the new paper tries to NOT upset the powers that be (differently from yours truly, who view most individuals and institutions in power more than suspiciously, and it shows). Thus, one has to read between the lines to deduce that, from the paper itself, interpreting it optimistically is completely unwarranted.

The paper says: “Consistent with recent observations and simulations, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet becomes unstable with 600 to 800 GtC of additional carbon emissions.” Hmm… Let’s see, how long would that take, at the present increasing rate? Now emissions of CO2 itself are around 35 Gt, per year. That’s a number often brandished, but, left at that, it’s disinformation. With other GreenHouse Gases, we are at 50 Gigatons of CO2 equivalent emission, per year. Sorry for taxing the mathematical capabilities of our great leaders: 12 x 50 = 600. This fits perfectly my “Ten Years To Catastrophe” essay. Thus, the West and EAST Antarctic Ice Sheet becomes unstable in TWELVE YEARS (according to this paper; I obtained the same rough estimate with a paleoclimate approach).

The United Nations has said that the rise of the sea would not likely exceed three feet in this century. Some island nations will be wiped out (oops). Yet experts officially hope that major cities could be protected from it, in the richest countries that is (re-oops), though at a cost in the trillions of dollars (contemplate the enormous works to protect London or Venice).

The New York Times mentioned the paper above, which say the ice sheets will start melting irreversibly within a decade, to argue, in Politically Correct fashion, that ice sheets respond slowly enough to changes in the climate that it simply takes longer than a century for large-scale melting to begin. As if that notion was in the paper. It is not. Far from it. As I have argued before, that notion is ridiculous.

Indeed, warm water will rush below the ice sheets in West Antarctica, and East Antarctica’s immense Wilkes and Aurora subglacial basins.

Subglacial Basins Are The Achilles’ Heel Of The Biosphere.

{WAIS = West Antarctica Ice Shelf; WB = Wilkes Basin; AB = Aurora Basin.]

Yet from that (tipping) point on, the paper found that thereafter, the sea would rise at the rate at a foot per decade, ten times faster than now, the New York Times admitted.

However the real text is much more alarming. Here is an extract:

The Antarctic Ice Sheet is severely affected by high carbon emissions through both the marine ice-sheet instability and surface elevation feedbacks. On the time scale of millennia, large parts of the ice sheet melt or drain into the ocean, raising global sea level by several tens of meters. Most of the ice loss occurs within the first millennium, leading to high rates of sea-level rise during this period (Fig. 3; for more details, see also fig. S6). Our simulations show that cumulative emissions of 500 GtC commit us to long-term sea-level rise from Antarctica of 1.15 m within the next millenium, which is consistent with the sensitivity of 1.2 m/°C derived with a different ice-sheet model (33, 34). Paleo data suggest that similar rates of sea-level rise have occurred during past warm periods (35). If the 2°C target, corresponding to about 600 GtC of additional carbon release compared to year 2010, were attained, the millennial sea-level rise from Antarctica could likely be restricted to 2 m. In our simulations, this would keep the ice sheet below the threshold for the collapse of the Wilkes Basin. However, if that threshold is crossed, the Antarctic ice cover is significantly reduced in thickness and area (Fig. 4). If we were to release all currently attainable fossil fuel resources, Antarctica would become almost ice-free. It is unclear whether this dynamic discharge would be reversible and, if so, on which time scales.”

As I already said, since 2010, we have added another 230 Gigatons. So we are within eight year of the Wilkes ice sheet, the largest in the world, to become unstable. The paper admitted that about half the Antarctic ice sheet would melt or fall into the sea in the first thousand years.”

The New York Times’ interpretation that it will take nearly a century for dramatic melting to start was obviously tainted. It is just driven by political Machiavellianism: let’s admit there is climate “change” just as there is sea level “change”, and misinform about the unfolding catastrophe (although Main Stream Media had to recently admit the snow pack in California last April was the lowest in at least 500 years). How do I know this? The scientific paper used computerized models of the huge ice sheets covering Antarctica and Greenland. It is the first paper to do so. Yet, according to the biased New York Times, it would have found exactly what the UN found, during this century… Although the UN did not incorporate the ice sheet melt models.

Once the ice sheet melting is incorporated, faster melting ought to have been predicted, for THIS century. However that grim prediction would have upset the powers that be. We don’t want that to happen. Now that they have the drone habit, killing throngs of people they know nothing about, who knows what’s coming next if one disparages them? Beheading and crucifixion at the most esteemed Saudi plutocracy?

For plutocrats, the Saudis are a model of Human Rights: thus they elected them to head the UN panel on Human Rights. And ice sheet melting is perfect: all great catastrophes call onto what Obama calls “leaders” (our masters). If a bit of engineered inflation could bring Hitler, imagine what an inflating ocean can bring! A great future for the few who rule us, tax free.

Patrice Ayme’


Let me close with two pictures:

That is a very great deal of water locked up in that ice!

and this one that shows how at least one would have a wonderful view of the sea from your room at the Boston Harbour Hotel!

The dagger has fallen!
The dagger has fallen!

 Interesting times!

14 thoughts on “The most beautiful dagger of them all!

  1. Thanks Paul for re-posting my essay. Understanding is accelerating among scientists: another paper supporting the same conclusion was announced today. But scientific understanding is nothing if it is not shared by most people. So thanks again!

    1. Patrice, what your essay reinforced for me is how few years we have before the ice melt slips away from man’s control. As you say in your comment, the critical importance of people fully understanding what is at stake.

  2. Yes Paul floods like we have never seen, even the great Edgar Cayce fortold of devastating floods that would reshape coastlines, and parts of the USA would disappear .. among others, Poor UK stands little chance unless we are well above sea level ..
    Even in my native Derbyshire are fish fossils among the rocks in the limestone valleys.. 🙂 We were under the ocean once and no doubts will be again, such are the cycles of this Earth.. Man just happens to think himself invincible.. But Mother Nature will win every time. .. Life as we know it will not exist..

    Hope you had a wonderful weekend Paul, did you watch the eclipse? 🙂 it was spectacular here in the UK… at 3am.. 🙂
    Wishing you and Jean a beautiful week 🙂 Hugs Sue xx

    1. Sue, we were invited to neighbours Jim and Janet for a film night, something they do on a regular basis during the summer. It is held outside and I took my camera. But, unfortunately, the ground behind their property rises quite steeply and it shielded the moon during the eclipse phase. Big shame as the timing, around 8pm, would have been ideal.

      Yes, I’m bound to agree with your pessimistic analysis. Simply because the world’s leaders, playing to the tunes of those with real money and power, won’t get their act together in time. The scale of what needs to be done, either in the reduction of emissions of CO2 and CO2 equivalents, or in the huge reduction in CO2 levels already in the atmosphere, is beyond imagination and, as Patrice underlines so cogently, there aren’t too many years left before nature is fully in charge of the outcomes!

      So all we can do is to be very thankful for our friends, both local and ‘virtual’, and try and live with the smallest footprint possible. Many hugs and dog licks in return!

      1. You know Paul my Dad was never into my ( spooky world ) lol.. but the week before he died in 96, he told me a date year to remember.. He told me 2017 as we discussed this same topic.. spooky!

  3. The most galling aspect of it all is that, thanks to the growth in capability of wind, and, mostly solar PV, the clean solution is at hand. If only banks stopped financing “derivatives”, they could finance massively the PV industry (it does require reservoirs and power lines; as the latter are unsightly, they can be put underground, but that’s more expensive… Hence the need for banks).

    China has been able to develop massively clean energy in the last few years, because the banks there are forced to invest in the real economy. In particular, Chinese Photo Voltaic has conquered the world, thanks to this huge investment.

    1. That’s an important point about the banks that I hadn’t thought of before. But surely, the reduction in CO2 emissions from transportation alone is impossible in the sort of timescale facing us?

      1. There are plenty of alternatives for transportation. Some nearly developed (hydrogen fuel cells) some in existence (Tesla is bringing out its six person SUV today; its range is 240 miles). Diesel produces much less CO2. With urea catalysis, it makes little NO2 and other pollutants. VW stopped deliberately to use it, for marketing reasons, it says, but that’s their problem. More fundamental research on batteries and capacitors would help. Even though Airbus is on track to produce a large hybrid electric plane (and will sell its small electric plane next year).
        If alternative motorization got as much subsidies as one tenth of what fossil fuels get, alternatives would be deployed quickly…

      2. I need to get out more! 🙂 What with the demands of the book, not watching broadcast TV and not subscribing to a newspaper, much slips past me these days!

        Seriously, thanks for outlining those developments.

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