Monte Rosa 2015

When sub-millimetre measuring techniques are applied to ice cores it’s worth taking a closer look because this technology can be misused to produce a torrent of oven-ready turkeys.

Laser Ablation–Inductively Coupled Plasma–Mass Spectrometry
A sub-millimetre measuring techniques has arrived in the land of maths and models.

Ice-core analysis by laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) provides sub-millimeter-scale sampling resolution (on the order of 100 μm in this study) and the low detection limits (ng L–1) necessary to measure the chemical constituents preserved in ice cores.

The current highest-resolution sampling is ~1 cm by CFA (Bigler and others, 2011) and continuous melting (e.g. Osterberg and others, 2006).

New LA-ICP-MS cryocell and calibration technique for sub-millimeter analysis of ice cores
S Sneed, P A Mayewski, W G Sayre, M J Handley, A V Kurbatov, K C Taylor, P Bohleber, D Wagenbach, T Erhardt and N E Spaulding
Journal of Glaciology – Vol 61 – No 226 – 2015

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-glaciology/article/new-laicpms-cryocell-and-calibration-technique-for-submillimeter-analysis-of-ice-cores/E7C217B0A2B676E78147D4DC40395B67

This is especially good news for people who like to tease out 98% of an ice core chronology from the last 14% of an ice core that’s – quite appropriately – known as bottom ice.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2018/12/07/monte-rosa-2009/

These folks can now squeeze out data from their bottom ice with a resolution of 100 μm.

The micrometre (SI symbol: μm)… one millionth of a metre

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%9Cm

And, for people interested in minutiae, this technology provides the means to create a wholly misleading hourly climate chronology from the uppermost layers of an ice core.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/the-great-greenland-snow-job-05-hollow-harmonies-smoking-guns/

In other words:

This technology can over analyse an ice core because a 100 μm sample can represent a period of time ranging from [about] 6.56 days down to 1.02 hours in the GISP2 chronology.

Slicing a sample into ever smaller slivers can produce very different and very misleading results.

For example:

It’s claimed ice cores provide “robust” insights into past climate.

Ice cores provide a robust reconstruction of past climate.

New LA-ICP-MS cryocell and calibration technique for sub-millimeter analysis of ice cores
S Sneed, P A Mayewski, W G Sayre, M J Handley, A V Kurbatov, K C Taylor, P Bohleber, D Wagenbach, T Erhardt and N E Spaulding
Journal of Glaciology – Vol 61 – No 226 – 2015

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-glaciology/article/new-laicpms-cryocell-and-calibration-technique-for-submillimeter-analysis-of-ice-cores/E7C217B0A2B676E78147D4DC40395B67

But results from the Colle Gnifetti glacier indicate a single source is not “robust”.

Two Colle Gnifetti boreholes produced very different d18O traces over a 30 year period.

The evidence indicates the only “robust” climate data from ice cores are 30 year averages.

Whether these 30 year averages accurately reflect “past climate” is another issue altogether.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/monte-rosa-modelling/

Either way:

There are good reasons to believe the 100 μm sampling of ice cores is totally inappropriate because it’s likely to produce misleading climate data and/or phantom year chronologies.

Climate is commonly defined as the weather averaged over a long period.

The standard averaging period is 30 years,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate

But 100 μm sampling can provide illumination in the murky land of maths and models.

Greenland GISP2 Ice Core
In the land of maths and models the GISP2 ice core chronology at 2,680 metres is calculated to contain 4.80 millimetres of ice for each year.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/the-great-greenland-snow-job-05-hollow-harmonies-smoking-guns/

100 μm sampling provides a detailed view of this GISP2 ice at 2,680 metres.

The 100 μm analysis includes “annual layers picks” based upon “Na peaks”.

Evidently, “Na peaks” are a very variable art form.

What’s not so evident is the underlying rationale supporting these “annual layers picks”.

In other words:

The selection of “annual layers” can be based upon spurious and/or arbitrary criteria.

This is particularly true with ice cores because they:

a) Include melt layers

b) Include ablation layers

c) Exclude “dry” snow removed by the wind

d) Contain drifted snow from other altitudes.

Unsurprisingly, it’s difficult to reconcile the maths and models with the 100 μm analysis.

The GISP2 100 μm analysis has “annual layers” that vary from 2.33 to 16.68 millimetres.

Whilst the average of 5.92 millimetres per year is 23% larger than the 4.80 millimetres per year produced by the GISP2 maths and models.

Personally, I can see no basis for claiming this 100 μm example displays a viable annual signal.

On the other hand:

I can see far too many questionable artefacts in the maths and models GISP2 chronology.

The artefacts are very evident from a depth of 10 metres.

The curious state of the maths and models GISP2 chronology is revealed by adding trend lines to the first 100 metres of the chronology.

Firstly, the “R squared” [coefficient of determination] values for all the trend lines are very poor.

Secondly, a 3rd order polynomial projection [very sensibly] suggests the thinning of the annual layers has levelled off at about 80 metres i.e. similar to the established depth/density ice curve.

Thirdly, exponential and logarithmic projections indicate the annual layers reach zero millimetres at [about] 250 and 350 metres respectively.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/monte-rosa-modelling/

Overall, the questionable artefacts in the maths and models GISP2 chronology coupled with the curious “annual layers picks” in the GISP2 100 μm analysis suggest both of these chronologies contain a large number of phantom years i.e. just like the GRIP chronology.

The Libby alignment suggests the Greenland Ice Sheet is about 1,100 years old i.e. exactly the same age as the ice on Iceland.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2018/12/10/getting-to-grips-with-greenland/

Colle Gnifetti Ice Cores
The verified dates from the CG03 ice core end with the 1783 Laki volcanic event at 53.52 metres.

The 100 μm analysis of the Colle Gnifetti CG03 ice core focuses upon a section of ice from 1 metre above the 1783 Laki volcanic event.

This coincidence provides an opportunity to [roughly] identify a single year in the 100 μm analysis.

When the Katla and Hekla volcanic events are appended to the Colle Gnifetti CG03 verified dates it becomes apparent the Colle Gnifetti glacier only dates back to the 1680s.

It also becomes apparent the origins of the Colle Gnifetti glacier are associated with a kick start in the form of a significant increase in precipitation during the Maunder Minimum.

Therefore, contrary to mainstream doctrines, the bottom layers of the Colle Gnifetti glacier display a significant thickening.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2018/12/07/monte-rosa-2009/

100 μm Analysis in Action
Unsurprisingly, the 100 μm sampling of ice cores has acquired some academic admirers even though it’s likely to produce misleading data and phantom year chronologies.

For example:

One study sampled a 72 metre Colle Gnifetti ice core at a resolution of about 120 μm.

We provide new high- (discrete, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, ICP-MS) and ultra-high resolution (laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, LA-ICP-MS) records of atmospheric lead deposition extracted from the high Alpine glacier Colle Gnifetti, in the Swiss-Italian Alps.

In this study we provide a new atmospheric Pb deposition record from a ~72 m ice core extracted from the Colle Gnifetti (CG) glacier (4450 m above sea level) in the Swiss-Italian Alps.

Ultra-high resolution sampling of this ice core (~120 μm, allowing ~550 measurements within the year dated ~1300 C.E.) was produced using the Climate Change Institute’s (CCI at the University of Maine) W. M. Keck Laser Ice Facility laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (LA-ICP-MS) [Sneed et al., 2015].

Next-generation ice core technology reveals true minimum natural levels
of lead (Pb) in the atmosphere: insights from the Black Death
A F More, N E Spaulding, P Bohleber, M J Handley, H Hoffmann, E V Korotkikh,
A V Kurbatov, C P Loveluck, S Sneed, M McCormick & P A Mayewski.
GeoHealth 1(4) – 2017

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321213801

The resulting “high-resolution” chronology “covers the last ~2000 years”.

A discrete, high-resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) Pb record (Figure 1) covers the last ~2000 years; an additional ultra-high resolution laser ablation (LA)-ICP-MS record provides more detailed evidence of subannual Pb deposition for the years ~1330 – 1360 C.E.

Next-generation ice core technology reveals true minimum natural levels
of lead (Pb) in the atmosphere: insights from the Black Death
A F More, N E Spaulding, P Bohleber, M J Handley, H Hoffmann, E V Korotkikh,
A V Kurbatov, C P Loveluck, S Sneed, M McCormick & P A Mayewski.
GeoHealth 1(4) – 2017

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321213801

This suggests the “high-resolution” chronology contains 330 real years and 1685 phantom years i.e. 5.1 phantom years for every real year.

There are a couple clues that suggest how this might have occurred.

Firstly, the paper proudly boasts it managed to gather [about] 550 measurements from a single year i.e. an average of 3 measurements for every 2 days.

Ultra-high resolution sampling of this ice core (~120 μm, allowing ~550 measurements within the year dated ~1300 C.E.) was produced using the Climate Change Institute’s (CCI at the University of Maine) W. M. Keck Laser Ice Facility laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (LA-ICP-MS) [Sneed et al., 2015].

Next-generation ice core technology reveals true minimum natural levels
of lead (Pb) in the atmosphere: insights from the Black Death
A F More, N E Spaulding, P Bohleber, M J Handley, H Hoffmann, E V Korotkikh,
A V Kurbatov, C P Loveluck, S Sneed, M McCormick & P A Mayewski.
GeoHealth 1(4) – 2017

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321213801

When it’s remembered that:

i) Dry winter snow is preferentially eroded on Colle Gnifetti
and
ii) Snow doesn’t fall on every day of the year on Colle Gnifetti.

Then it becomes possible these 550 measurements from one year represent:

2 measurements per day for 275 days of snowfall with melt/ablation layers
plus
0 measurements per day for the 90 days when no snow accumulated.

Overall, the melt days, ablation layers and missing days makes it difficult to identify patterns and peaks that can be used to determine “annual layers”.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/monte-rosa-modelling/

Secondly, the “maxima in the Ca profile” used to select the “annual layers” are graphed using a logarithmic scale that:

a) Visually over emphasises minor upward ticks
and
b) Visually under emphasises major upward spikes.

Annual layers were identified as local maxima in the Ca profile corresponding to snow deposited during high summer season.

Next-generation ice core technology reveals true minimum natural levels
of lead (Pb) in the atmosphere: insights from the Black Death
A F More, N E Spaulding, P Bohleber, M J Handley, H Hoffmann, E V Korotkikh,
A V Kurbatov, C P Loveluck, S Sneed, M McCormick & P A Mayewski.
GeoHealth 1(4) – 2017

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321213801

When the [truncated] major upward spikes in the Ca profile are used as the criteria for selecting the “annual layers” then it becomes apparent the illustrated 7 year “high-resolution” chronology probably contains 5 phantom years and only 2 real years.

However, the single year pattern identified in the Colle Gnifetti CG03 ice core [below] suggests the “high-resolution” chronology [above] may contain 6 phantom years and only 1 real year.

Either way:

There are good reasons to argue:

1. Earth Scientists should abandon their logarithmic ice sheet models.

2. Earth Scientists should stop using logarithmic scales in their graphs.

3. Earth Scientists should avoid sampling ice cores at a sub-millimetre resolution.

4. Earth Scientists should end their self-imposed exile in the land of maths and models.

But, as always, Earth Scientists and mere mortals are free to draw their own conclusions.

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1 Response to Monte Rosa 2015

  1. oldbrew says:

    A bit o/t but…
    Two stalagmites found in Chinese cave offer a way to improve accuracy of carbon-14 dating
    December 14, 2018

    Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-12-stalagmites-chinese-cave-accuracy-carbon-.html

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