Sunday, July 03, 2011

Knee-deep in Polar Ice Water

The best brains in the Global Warming industry now believe that a touch of warming over the next 90 years might cause glaciers in Greenland to melt faster than previously predicted. They say if that happens, the sea might rise one meter.

What would we do if the the level of the world's oceans and open seas rose a whole meter, a little more than a yard? I suppose after a lot of thinking and calculating, and worried head scratching, someone might say, "well, we could put all the buildings by the shore up on stilts. Yeah, we could do that."

Someone else might say, "well, we could just move back from the sea shore."

Another person might remind the others, "Well, New Orleans is below sea level, and so is Holland. Most of the time they manage."

Warming Ocean Could Melt Ice Faster Than Thought


WASHINGTON — Warming air from climate change isn't the only thing that will speed ice melting near the poles – so will the warming water beneath the ice, a new study points out.

Increased melting of ice in Greenland and parts of Antarctica has been reported as a consequence of global warming, potentially raising sea levels. But little attention has been paid to the impact of warmer water beneath the ice.

Now, Jianjun Yin of the University of Arizona and colleagues report the warming water could mean polar ice melting faster than had been expected. Their report was published Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

While melting floating ice won't raise sea level, ice flowing into the sea from glaciers often reaches the bottom, and grounded ice melted by warm water around it can produce added water to the sea.

"Ocean warming is very important compared to atmospheric warming because water has a much larger heat capacity than air," Yin explained. "If you put an ice cube in a warm room, it will melt in several hours. But if you put an ice cube in a cup of warm water, it will disappear in just minutes."

In addition, Yin explained, if floating ice along the coastal areas melts it will allow the flow of glaciers to accelerate, bringing more ice into the seas.

"This mean that both Greenland and Antarctica are probably going to melt faster than the scientific community previously thought," co-author Jonathan T. Overpeck said in a statement.

Overpeck, co-director of the University of Arizona's Institute of the Environment, said: "This paper adds to the evidence that we could have sea level rise by the end of this century of around 1 meter and a good deal more in succeeding centuries."

The subsurface ocean along the Greenland coast could warm as much as 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 Celsius) by 2100, the researchers reported. The warming along the coast of Antarctica would be somewhat less, they calculated, at 0.9 degree F (0.5 C).

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home