Since surface temperature measurements are by their nature, rather untenable, qualitative observation may provide the only realistic data concerning receding glaciers and rising sea levels.
However, when glaciers recede, there are at least four possible causes and then any combination of the four. They include: 1) increased solar intensity (insolation) on glacial surfaces; 2) warmer or shifted sea currents; 3) less snowfall; 4) heat from Earth’s mantle is warming glaciers from below.
Increased solar intensity at Earth’s surface might be a result of less cloud cover, but could be due to a solar maximum. In addition, Earth’s fluctuating magnetic field occasionally allows more solar energy to reach Earth’s surface. Sunshine on Earth’s glacial surfaces has completely different effects on glacial melt than does a slightly warmer still-air atmosphere.
Warmer sea currents may be the result of a warmer global sea or shifted sea currents- another difficult measurement to make accurately.
Less snow collecting at the poles while Earth is warmer, irrationally implies less water is evaporating into the atmosphere- even when conditions are warmer and global pressure is constant.
Recent reports claim parts of the Antarctic are experiencing tectonic activity and are heating up from below the ice- not an atmospheric issue and also a condition beyond human control.
Even in a qualitative view, the complexity rises in the case where glaciers are receding. There are many factors involved in the formation and longevity of glaciers.
If sea levels are rising globally, there are again several possible causes and their combinations. They include: 1) melting glaciers; 2) tectonic activity is lifting parts of the sea floor; 3) landmasses in some areas are sinking lifting sea floors by similar amounts; 4) ancient mountain ranges are eroding and displacing seawater by filling bays with soil; 5) underground aquifers are depleted to less than their normally full levels.
Increasingly more is known about the tectonic drift of landmasses as they float in the mantle. Landmasses are certainly adrift and moving yet there is no consensus as to causes of the motion. Some commonly proposed explanations are easily ruled out. It seems most likely that the moon’s attraction as it orbits Earth in conjunction with the Sun’s attraction causes the motion by distorting Earth’s surface at the equator. Evidence includes the relative absence of motion at the poles. The apparent opposites in direction of the moving landmasses may be as simple as some landmasses are moving faster than others are as they travel the closed circle around Earth. The differing speeds are due to rebounding. In addition, after rebounding from past collisions that have occurred in their longitudinal drift, some have an added rotation.
Since they are floating and moving landmasses must be bobbing up and down as well. The up and down motion of landmasses would explain Earth’s global hotspots. For instance, the periodic nature of the Yellowstone hotspot eruptions, the mantle plum eruptions, may indicate the Yellowstone region’s period of oscillation up and down. Similarly, the heating and cooling of land below the ice in the Antarctic is likely periodic. (Note: For those who are into some of the more exotic creation science, the landmasses are floating in molten rock but have never floated in a sea of water. Floating landmasses does not explain Noah’s flood.)
Now, if any landmass is bobbing up and down, then they all are, whether they are moving laterally or not. As a landmass sinks into the mantle, the sea floor rises and conversely, as a landmass rises in the mantle, the sea floor sinks. A rising and falling sea floor directly effects sea levels. These factors and others could all contribute to the rise and fall of sea levels and again, the complexity of “global warming” issues has increased.
If sea level rise were due solely to melted ice, the level of increase would be precisely consistent at every shore. However, if evidence shows water level increasing much more on one continent than on others, clearly that continent is sinking and pushing sea floors up causing sea levels to rise globally- again not a controllable issue and an issue unrelated to global warming.
If landmasses are sinking and causing sea levels to rise by pushing up ocean floors, one might expect increased volcanism concurrent with the rising sea levels. The added pressure pushing up the ocean floor would be added pressure on all magma as well.
In the absence of a fixed reference, it is difficult to know for sure how landmasses move laterally since the seemingly motionless reference, the Antarctic, is itself likely rotating and for that matter, bobbing up and down as well.