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"What If All the Ice Melts?" Myths and Realities
Johnston Archive ^ | 12/29/2005 | Wm. Robert Johnston

Posted on 01/27/2007 6:32:27 PM PST by Dallas59

"If we keep using cars, the ice caps will melt and we'll all drown!" This is a myth, just as false as fearing the Sun will die as a result of using solar power. However, as often as I hear it--particularly from people who should know better--I thought I would address it here. First, here is a summary of the facts:

* Despite what you may have been told, it has NOT been proven that human-caused global warming is occurring, and in fact there is substantial reason to reject such claims. * The best explanation for the evidence is that whatever global warming trend exists is mostly the result of natural influences like variations in the climate system and variations in solar radiation. * The suggestions that human activities will cause significant changes in global temperature and sea level in the next century are flawed predictions which haven't been confirmed by observations. * The solutions to this apparently non-existent problem proposed by environmentalists would not have a significant effect on climate, but they would cause a significant amount of human suffering. * Based on what we know now, in the next 100 years a rise in sea level of 0.1 meters (4 inches) would not be surprising; those predicting changes of 0.5-2 meters (1.5-7 feet) are using flawed models. * If all the icecaps in the world were to melt, sea level would rise about 60-75 meters (200-250 feet). This could not result from modern human activities, and from any realistic cause would take thousands of years to occur.

I have discussed the first four points (which are non-trivial and deserve extended discussion) in Global warming, Some scientific data on global climate change, and "Facts disprove warnings about global warming", and the fifth point in Facts and figures on sea level rise. I will mostly address the last point--not just to dispel the notion that we need worry, but also because it is a valid and interesting thing to be curious about.

I. The world's ice

Currently the Earth has permanent ice in the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland, plus much smaller permanent glaciers in various mountain regions of the world. This ice is "permanent", however, only over the short timespan of modern human civilization. Additionally there are two large ice sheets floating in seas off Antarctica, plus floating pack ice in the Arctic Ocean and surrounding Antarctica. Geological evidence indicates very clearly that at times in the Earth's past icecaps were much larger in extent--and alternately, at other times icecaps were virtually nonexistent.

Currently there are about 30,000,000 cubic kilometers of ice in the world's icecaps and glaciers. This volume of ice is fairly well measured (within 5-15%) by surveying the top of the icecaps with methods like radar and laser altimetry, locating the bottom of the ice with methods like seismic soundings, and calculating the difference. A breakdown is as follows:

World ice inventory

Location Volume (km3) Fraction of world ice Change in volume since 1960 (km3) ** comments Continental glaciers and ice fields* 87,000 (± 10,000) [1] 0.29 % -4,700 [2,3,4] grounded Greenland ice cap 2,930,000 (2,620,000 to 3,000,000) [5,6,7,8,9] 9.8 % -2,000 [6,10,11,12,13,14] grounded Greenland continental glaciers ~50,000 (± 20,000?) [15] 0.17 % -350 [3,4] grounded Arctic Ocean pack ice 16,000 summer, 24,000 winter [16,17] 0.01 % -3,000 [16,18,29] floating East Antarctic Ice Sheet 23,000,000 (21,800,000 to 26,040,000) [5,6,8,19] 76.8 % +10,000 [6,20,21] grounded West Antarctic Ice Sheet 3,000,000 (3,000,000 to 3,260,000) [5,19] 10.0 % -4,500 [21,22,23] grounded Antarctic Peninsula ice cap 227,000 [5,24] 0.76 % (included with EAIS) grounded Antarctic continental glaciers ~50,000 (± 20,000?) [15] 0.17 % -700 [3,4] grounded Ross Ice Shelf 230,000 [24] 0.77 % -2,000 [26,27] floating Ronne-Filcher ice shelves 344,000 [25] 1.17 % -2,000 [26,27] mostly floating South polar pack ice 4,000 summer, 19,000 winter [28] 0.08 % +100 [28] floating Total world ice ~29,960,000 100 % -9,150 --grounded ice only ~29,340,000 97.9 % -2,250 grounded --floating ice only ~620,000 2.1 % -6,900 floating Notes to table: These values are approximate; sources are given, which have in some cases been indirectly used to estimate volumes; errors in interpretation should be assigned to me, not to the original sources. * Continental glaciers and ice fields--outside Greenland and Antarctica. ** Changes in volume are very uncertain; these values may be taken as illustrative. In most cases these are measurements over a limited time range extrapolated to the total change in volume from 1960 to 2005. Some values are based on models, not directly on measurements.

Grounded ice is ice resting on the ground rather than floating. The melting of floating ice will not change sea level: the mass of this ice is equal to that of the water it displaces (watch the water level in a cup of floating ice cubes as they melt). For comparison, globally ice (both grounded and floating) represents about 2% of the world's water, with about 1,350,000,000 km3 of water in the oceans.

During the last Ice Age the maximum extent of glaciation was around 16,000 B.C. At that time large ice sheets covered all of Canada, much of the American midwest and northeast, all of Scandinavia and some surrounding regions of Eurasia. The total volume of ice then was perhaps 80,000,000 cubic kilometers, or between two and three times as much as today. Correspondingly, world sea level was about 120 meters lower [6,30].

II. Why melting is not a threat

While today's balance between the icecaps and global sea level has been relatively steady since about 1000 B.C., it would be careless to assume that this is the Earth's natural state and that it should always be this way. What could happen to climate naturally in the next few thousand years? If the Earth continued to warm and break from ice age conditions, some of the remaining ice caps could melt. On the other hand, climate might swing back into another ice age. (In fact, some of the environmentalists now worried about global warming were worried about another ice age in the 1960s and 1970s.)

In either case, such a change in climate would take thousands of years to accomplish. Note that it has taken 18,000 years to melt 60% of the ice from the last ice age. The remaining ice is almost entirely at the north and south poles and is isolated from warmer weather. To melt the ice of Greenland and Antarctica would take thousands of years under any realistic change in climate. In the case of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which accounts for 80% of the Earth's current ice, Sudgen argues that it existed for 14,000,000 years, through wide ranges in global climate. The IPCC 2001 report states "Thresholds for disintegration of the East Antarctic ice sheet by surface melting involve warmings above 20° C... In that case, the ice sheet would decay over a period of at least 10,000 years." [31] The IPCC is the United Nations' scientific committee on climate change; its members tend to be the minority that predicts global warming and its statements tend to be exaggerated by administrators before release. Given that the IPCC tends to exaggerate the potential for sea level rise, it is clear that no scientists on either side of the scientific debate on global warming fear the melting of the bulk of Antarctica's ice. Consider also this abstract of an article by Jacobs contrasting scientific and popular understanding:

A common public perception is that global warming will accelerate the melting of polar ice sheets, causing sea level to rise. A common scientific position is that the volume of grounded Antarctic ice is slowly growing, and will damp future sea-level rise. At present, studies supporting recent shrinkage or growth depend on limited measurements that are subject to high temporal and regional variability, and it is too early to say how the Antarctic ice sheet will behave in a warmer world. [32]

This statement alludes to the significant point that the Antarctic ice cap appears to currently be growing rather than shrinking. In fact, were the climate to warm significantly in the next few centuries (not a certain future, but supposing it happened), current models suggest that Antarctica would gain ice, with increased snowfall more than offsetting increased melting.

How much concern should we have about the 20% of world ice outside the East Antarctic Ice Sheet? Some sources have recently discussed the "possible collapse" of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). It is suggested that this sheet (about 10% of Antarctic ice) could melt in the "near term" (a usefully vague phrase) and raise sea level 5 to 6 meters. Current understanding is that the WAIS has been melting for the last 10,000 years, and that its current behavior is a function of past, not current climate. [23] The abstract of an article by Alley and Whillans addresses this:

The portion of the West Antarctic ice sheet that flows into the Ross Sea is thinning in some places and thickening in others. These changes are not caused by any current climatic change, but by the combination of a delayed response to the end of the last global glacial cycle and an internal instability. The near-future impact of the ice sheet on global sea level is largely due to processes internal to the movement of the ice sheet, and not so much to the threat of a possible greenhouse warming. Thus the near-term future of the ice sheet is already determined. However, too little of the ice sheet has been surveyed to predict its overall future behavior. [34]

Similarly, recent stories have periodically appeared concerning the potential receding of the Greenland ice cap. Two points may be made regarding current understanding here. First, there is considerable disagreement as to the current rate of net ice cap loss--or even if there is net loss versus net gain. Second, even with temperature increases far greater than the dubious predictions of the IPCC, models indicate that Greenland's ice cap would take 2,000 to 10,000 years to disappear.

Some discussion of the concerns about near term sea level rise may be found in Facts and figures on sea level rise. The predictions that have been made for ice cap melting in the next century rely mostly on melting of glaciers in mountain regions, not melting of the polar ice caps. Even the pessimistic models cited by the IPCC tend to predict an increase in the volume of the Antarctic ice cap with warmer temperatures due to increased snowfalls. In general temperature changes of a few degrees do not seem to be sufficient to begin to melt the polar ice caps, particularly the Antarctic ice cap.

III. Imagining the world without ice caps

As long as we understand that the polar ice caps are not going to melt in the foreseeable future, we can proceed to imagine what the world would be like if they did melt.

Using the ice volume figures from above it is straightforward to estimate the effect on sea level were all this ice melted. Melting the 29,300,000 km3 of grounded ice would produce 26,100,000 km3 of water. Note that melting of floating ice has no effect on sea level. Also, about 2,100,000 km3 of the grounded ice in Antarctica is below sea level [19] and would be replaced by water. Thus, the net addition to the world's oceans would be about 24,000,000 km3 of water spread over the 361,000,000 km2 area of the world's oceans, giving a depth of 67 meters. The new ocean area would be slightly larger, of course, since some areas now land would be covered with water. The final result would be around 66 meters (current estimates range between 63 and 75 meters).

What would the Earth look like as a result? If sea level were 66 meters higher than today, the result would be as illustrated below:



Obviously some areas are affected more than others. Some larger areas now underwater are the southeastern United States, part of the Amazon River basin, northern Europe, Bangladesh, parts of Siberia along the Arctic Ocean, and portions of mainland China. A large area in Australia would be below sea level, but it is not joined to the ocean and could remain dry.



Above is a view of the lower 48 states of the United States with a 66-meter-higher sea level. Below are some closeups:



* upper left: western Washington state and the Portland, Oregon area; * upper right: Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and southern New Jersey; * lower left: central California, near San Francisco bay; and * lower right: south Texas, from Corpus Christi to Brownsville.

Both Greenland and Antarctica, free of ice, have areas that would be below sea level. However, with the weight of this ice removed, Greenland and Antarctica would rise higher--this phenomena is called isostatic rebound. This rebound lags behind the removal of the ice (by thousands of years). Eventually, most of Greenland would probably be above sea level. However, significant portions of Antarctica would remain underwater. This is shown below in a view of the southern hemisphere:



Today the Earth has 148 million sq. km of land area, of which 16 million sq. km is covered by glaciers. A sea level rise of 66 meters would flood about 13 million sq. km of land outside Antarctica. Without polar ice, Antarctica and Greenland would be ice free, although about half of Antarctica would be under water. Thus, ice-free land would be 128 million sq. km compared to 132 million sq. km today.

As a result, in terms of total habitable land area, the Earth might have more than today. The coastal areas reclaimed by the sea would be mostly offset by now habitable areas of Greenland and Antarctica. Again, remember that such climate change would take thousands of years. Over such time scales vegetation would be restored to newly ice-free regions even without human activity. Also, vast areas which are now desert and tundra would become more fit for human habitation and agriculture.

The illustrations above do not depict any changes in vegetation. In reality, local climates would be very different in ways that are currently difficult to predict. It might be that the warmer climate would lead to generally greater precipitation (this is suggested by comparison to the last ice age, when cooler temperatures caused expansion of the Sahara). Unfortunately, current models are not reliable enough to give a confident answer.

So why wouldn't people drown? Again, a change in the Earth this dramatic would take thousands of years to effect from any realistic cause. Over generations people would migrate as the coasts changed. Consider that virtually all of the settlements in the United States were established only in last 350 years. Of course, many settlements inhabited for thousands of years would have to be abandoned to the ocean--just as many would have to be abandoned if ice age conditions returned and covered vast areas with ice sheets. But people can comfortably adjust where they live over periods of decades, far shorter than the thousands of years needed for these climate changes to naturally take place. Also, that's if they occur, and we have no evidence to indicate what would happen to climate over the next few thousand years.

IV. A final comment

For those curious as to what the Earth would be like with the ice caps melted, this report has hopefully given an illustration, along with some perspective: this sort of change cannot be affected by modern human activity even given many centuries. It is sad that some youngsters think that burning of hydrocarbons could cause the ice caps to melt and drown cities; it is criminal when teachers don't correct this nonsense. And it should tell you much of environmental groups like the Sierra Club when they use such myths to further an extremist political agenda.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: climatechange; globalwarming
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Interesting...
1 posted on 01/27/2007 6:32:29 PM PST by Dallas59
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To: Dallas59
"What If All the Ice Melts?"

Hillary will have no place to go

2 posted on 01/27/2007 6:35:22 PM PST by Gone_Postal (There's plenty of room for all God's creatures..right next to the mashed potatoes)
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To: Dallas59
Two things ` it doesn't take thousands of years for the ice to build up. It doesn't take thousands of years for the North American ice cap to melt.

The whole business can be pretty precipitous.

3 posted on 01/27/2007 6:41:38 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: Dallas59; eyespysomething

It's kind of tough to tell, but it looks like I'd have ocean-front property if these images are correct. I'm going to start taking the long way to and from work to burn more gas in my SUV and speed up this process. I can't even begin to think of what I could sell my middle-Georgia home for if it was on the ocean!


4 posted on 01/27/2007 6:43:09 PM PST by SittinYonder (Ic ■Št gehate, ■Št ic heonon nelle fleon fotes trym, ac wille fur­or gan)
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To: SittinYonder

Capitalist!


5 posted on 01/27/2007 6:44:00 PM PST by Dallas59 (HAPPY NEW YEAR 2007!)
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To: Dallas59

This guy obviously didn't see Dr. Algore's movie.


6 posted on 01/27/2007 6:46:08 PM PST by beans36
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To: Dallas59

Awesome, I'd have beachfront property !!


7 posted on 01/27/2007 6:46:27 PM PST by pbear8 (Pray for our troops.)
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To: Dallas59

66 meters (216 feet) seems like an awfully extreme estimate.


8 posted on 01/27/2007 6:47:26 PM PST by cripplecreek (Peace without victory is a temporary illusion.)
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To: Dallas59

coming back later ping


9 posted on 01/27/2007 6:50:47 PM PST by sure_fine ( Ľ not one to over kill the thought processÖ Ľ)
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To: Dallas59

What if all the ice melts?

____

As long as they can find a way to chill my martini glass I could care less.


10 posted on 01/27/2007 6:52:02 PM PST by word_warrior_bob (You can now see my amazing doggie and new puppy on my homepage!! Come say hello to Jake & Sonny)
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To: Dallas59

The average temperature at the South Pole is -49C.

The average temperature at the North Pole is -25C.

The Poles go through 6 months of darkness each year (which means any ice that melts in the summer is going to freeze back 100% in the winter.)

Antarctica has been frozen over for about 40 million years, ever since continental drift moved the continent to the South Pole.

Greenland has been frozen over for about 15 million years, ever since continental drift moved the island/continent close enough to the North Pole.

They are not going to melt.

Give those figures to your lefty friends next time they say the Poles are going to melt.


11 posted on 01/27/2007 6:55:43 PM PST by JustDoItAlways
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To: Gone_Postal

Good visuals with the globes. Interesting to imagine.


12 posted on 01/27/2007 6:56:09 PM PST by scan58
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To: Dallas59
This article shows people do not understand the true purpose of those claiming humans are adversely effect the climate. It has nothing to do with climate change. That premise is merely a ruse to impose legislation to transfer more power from the individual to the select few who run the government. The socialists will then have achieved their goal of centralizing power and thereby destroying our Constitutional form of government.
13 posted on 01/27/2007 6:57:01 PM PST by Man50D (Fair Tax , you earn it , you keep it!)
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To: cripplecreek
That's only if ALL the ice melts. No one is saying that human-caused global warming will do that. The most people are forecasting is a few feet, but even that would cause major disruptions since most people live on the coast.
14 posted on 01/27/2007 6:57:42 PM PST by curiosity
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To: Dallas59
"If all the icecaps in the world were to melt, sea level would rise about 60-75 meters (200-250 feet)."

Wilson, NC Elevation: 48 meters (157 feet). Sorry, man.

15 posted on 01/27/2007 6:59:09 PM PST by Rb ver. 2.0 (A Muslim soldier can never be loyal to a non-Muslim commander.)
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: Constitution Day; Dallas59
Sorry, Dallas59 meant that for CD. I'm Dallas60 BTW.

"If all the icecaps in the world were to melt, sea level would rise about 60-75 meters (200-250 feet)."

Wilson, NC Elevation: 48 meters (157 feet).

Sorry, man.

17 posted on 01/27/2007 7:02:06 PM PST by Rb ver. 2.0 (A Muslim soldier can never be loyal to a non-Muslim commander.)
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To: JustDoItAlways
Greenland has been frozen over for about 15 million years, ever since continental drift moved the island/continent close enough to the North Pole.

Why is it called Greenland?

18 posted on 01/27/2007 7:03:16 PM PST by jimmyray
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To: jimmyray
Why is it called Greenland?

Because the warmer climate of a thousand or so years ago left much of the southern coasts ice free. It's had an ice cap for millions of years.
19 posted on 01/27/2007 7:09:39 PM PST by cripplecreek (Peace without victory is a temporary illusion.)
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To: Rb ver. 2.0
I want palm trees. Bigens too...with lot's of coconuts so's I can do this....


20 posted on 01/27/2007 7:09:45 PM PST by Dallas59 (HAPPY NEW YEAR 2007!)
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To: Dallas59

BTTT!


21 posted on 01/27/2007 7:11:32 PM PST by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: cripplecreek

And that is the point- to use a hypothetical "worst-case" scenario. And the fact that such dramatic changes would take a thousand years+ assuming that God doesn't change the climate again...


22 posted on 01/27/2007 7:13:44 PM PST by TheBattman (I've got TWO QUESTIONS for you....)
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To: muawiyah
Two things ` it doesn't take thousands of years for the ice to build up. It doesn't take thousands of years for the North American ice cap to melt.

And if the past few million years are an indication, the collapse comes much faster than the build-up. Plus, isostatic rebound still hasn't stablized following the last glacial retreat...with more rapid rebound on the north side of the Great Lakes, they are slowly spilling southward.

23 posted on 01/27/2007 7:16:21 PM PST by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: Dallas59
I should have said "coconut" trees... Palm trees are good for this...


24 posted on 01/27/2007 7:17:39 PM PST by Dallas59 (HAPPY NEW YEAR 2007!)
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To: JustDoItAlways

It gets even more complex than that, because the real question is the band of near-zero...and warming will shift that, changing snowfall.


25 posted on 01/27/2007 7:17:59 PM PST by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: wagglebee
Then little scrat could get back his acorn.


26 posted on 01/27/2007 7:18:23 PM PST by getmeouttaPalmBeachCounty_FL ( **Hunter-Tancredo-Weldon-Hayworth 4 President**)
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To: Dallas59

Looks like I'll have some waterfront property in MD one day. Too bad I'll be long dead before I see it. It also looks like I've wasted my money on my Save The Bay plates.


27 posted on 01/27/2007 7:19:21 PM PST by edpc (The pen is mightier than the sword......until you fight someone.)
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To: Dallas59

very nice thank you.


28 posted on 01/27/2007 7:21:45 PM PST by Steve Van Doorn (*in my best Eric cartman voice* ?I love you guys?)
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To: sure_fine

Me too


29 posted on 01/27/2007 7:34:53 PM PST by stockpixx
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To: blam; wagglebee; neverdem

ping


30 posted on 01/27/2007 8:04:10 PM PST by raybbr (You think it's bad now - wait till the anchor babies start to vote.)
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To: Dallas59

"What If All the Ice Melts?"

My gin & tonic won't be quite as refreshing.


31 posted on 01/27/2007 8:21:59 PM PST by Buck W. (If you push something hard enough, it will fall over.)
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To: Dallas59
Whole lotta food production goes on in the San Joaquin Valley. I suspect we would do something to prevent that area from being flooded.

On the other hand, Fresno might be a nicer place if it had oceanfront property.
32 posted on 01/27/2007 8:25:16 PM PST by BenLurkin
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To: edpc
Waterfront property, oot West too. How's this (The Matrix Institute):

 

 

Similar Free Republic thresd:

Under water by 2100? Risk of the rising sea (CATASTROPHE LOOMS!!!)

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1774891/posts?q=1&&page=51 


33 posted on 01/27/2007 8:27:01 PM PST by K-oneTexas (I'm not a judge and there ain't enough of me to be a jury. (Zell Miller, A National Party No More))
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To: Man50D

Correct!


34 posted on 01/27/2007 8:27:19 PM PST by BenLurkin
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To: Dallas59

What? Me Worry? My family owns land 600 feet up the side of a mountian on Hood Canal, Washington ... we can see Seattle go under from here .... or there, I'm in FL right now ....


35 posted on 01/27/2007 8:39:09 PM PST by SkyDancer ("The Americans on Flight 93 did more to counter terrorism than the Democrats have done in 4 years")
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To: Dallas59


WELCOME TO SOUTHERN MAINE!



36 posted on 01/27/2007 8:43:12 PM PST by Lady Jag (A positive attitude will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.)
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To: Dallas59

bump for cocktails


37 posted on 01/27/2007 8:46:47 PM PST by true_blue_texican (...against all enemies, foreign and domestic...)
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To: Dallas59

Wm. Robert Johnston is obviously the anti-Al-Gore.


38 posted on 01/27/2007 8:52:27 PM PST by BuffaloJack
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To: All

If we could say. double or triple the speed the earth rotates, more water would accumulate along the equator.. Its a centrifugal thing I don't have time to explain it to you dang bootstrappers... :P

Now I know tieing down running jet airplanes to spool up the planets speed is politically incorrect ...since it pollutes...But what if we launched liberals night and day out of eastward facing giant potato guns? You know for every action a reaction thing?

I hope I spelled potato right because everyone knows misspelling a single word can make you less qualified for anything than a one term democrat.. hmmmm

Battle of the one term democrats..why does that sound familiar?

anyhow..back to solving the future flooding, doesn't every person on earth basically consist of about 30 gallons of water on a stick? Well we need to keep the third worlders breading like mad..we have to park that glacier meltoff in people.. In fact maybe we should hire people to stand at the face of all glaciers and lick the drips of water off of them before they fall into the ocean and flood some movie stars house !

Hey, I am only trying to help,besides enviro-wacko science doesn't follow any written laws..why should I?


39 posted on 01/27/2007 9:14:03 PM PST by uncle fenders
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To: Dallas59
And it should tell you much of environmental groups like the Sierra Club when they use such myths to further an extremist political agenda.

I first had the Sierra Club's number in 1983. I was working construction in Estes Park listening to the jobsite radio. During the noon news break a story was aired that the Sierra Club was all-fired concerned that the fragile tundra on Trail Ridge Road was being permanently damaged by tourists wandering around on the tundra. TR Road is the highest continuous auto road in the continental U.S. and is in Rocky Mountain National Park. It's about 8-10 miles from Estes Park to the top.

I was stunned to hear that since a couple of weeks before I had been up there and witnessed the 'fragile' tundra plants pushing through the asphalt trails the Park had put in a few years before. There are literally thousands of people who take those trails each year and as one might expect they don't all stay on them. (3-4 million pass through the Park per year on avg.)

There were and are few places where the tundra plants are actually worn down to dirt. Not to mention those few hundred feet of trails make up some fractional billionth of the tundra in CO alone much less all the Rockies.

I knew then that the Sierra Club was utterly and completely bogus. They have proved that 100 times over since then.

40 posted on 01/28/2007 12:26:46 AM PST by TigersEye (Ego chatter endlessly on. Mind speaks in great silence.)
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To: Dallas59
Antarctic Ice Sheet Mass Balance (yep, it's growing)
41 posted on 01/28/2007 12:32:28 AM PST by TigersEye (Ego chatter endlessly on. Mind speaks in great silence.)
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To: Dallas59
On the polar plateau, temperature is controlled by solar input, latitude and altitude. The annual average temperature is -50°C (-58°F). Winter temperatures drop quickly, then level out. Summer is short, from mid-December to mid-January, however, temperatures can reach a balmy -30°C (-22°F)! source: http://www.antarcticconnection.com/antarctic/weather/climate.shtml

With the average annual temperature in Antarctica hanging around -58 degrees F it's going to take quite a long time to get up to the point of actually melting given the cries of the global warming enthusiasts is that our temperature has gone up something like a degree over the last half century or decade (or whatever they're claiming this week).

42 posted on 01/28/2007 1:19:41 AM PST by highlander_UW (I don't know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future)
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To: jimmyray

"Why is it called Greenland?"

When the first map was created, the mapmaker had Greenland and Iceland confused.

Apparently this persons heir later worked for the Gore campaign in Florida and was the reason for the butterfly ballot fiasco.


43 posted on 01/28/2007 8:55:23 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (The Clintons: A Malignant Malfeasance of the Most Morbid)
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To: curiosity
. . .since most people live on the coast.

Most people live on the coast?

44 posted on 01/28/2007 9:57:24 AM PST by William Terrell (Individuals can exist without government but government can't exist without individuals.)
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To: William Terrell
Most people live on the coast?

Yes, most of the world's population lives on the coast, and by that I mean within a relatively short distance of the ocean, something on the order of 100 miles, though I don't remember the exact number.

45 posted on 01/28/2007 9:13:57 PM PST by curiosity
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To: curiosity
I think of the coast as being below 250 feet elevation, for the purposes of all the land based ice in the world melting.

46 posted on 01/28/2007 9:53:29 PM PST by William Terrell (Individuals can exist without government but government can't exist without individuals.)
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To: William Terrell
I would venture to say that perhaps not a majority, but a very large fraction of the world's population lives below 250 feet in elevation and near the coast.

Think about some of the world's largest cities: New York, Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghi, Hong Kong, etc, etc, etc.

47 posted on 01/28/2007 10:40:07 PM PST by curiosity
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To: Dallas59

It looks like California, the largest exporter of food in the world, will become a waterski paradise. Just avoid the underwater obstacles.


48 posted on 01/28/2007 10:45:32 PM PST by Prost1 (Fair and Unbiased as always!)
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To: William Terrell
FYI:

"44% of the world's population (more people than inhabited the entire globe in 1950) live within 150 kilometres of the coast. In 2001 over half the world's population lived within 200km of a coastline... The United States has clearly mapped its population expansion. In the United States, around 53% of the population lives near the coast and since 1970 there have been 2000 homes per day erected in coastal areas."

Source:

http://www.oceansatlas.org/servlet/CDSServlet?status=ND0xODc3JmN0bl9pbmZvX3ZpZXdfc2l6ZT1jdG5faW5mb192aWV3X2Z1bGwmNj1lbiY1NT0yMSYzMz0qJjM3PWtvcw~~

Anyway, my point is, even if melting land ice only reduces the livable land mass by a small amount, it will still cause a huge displacement since such a large fraction of the population lives near the coast.

49 posted on 01/28/2007 11:23:27 PM PST by curiosity
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To: curiosity
It won't matter how far people live from the coast; it matters what elevation they're occupying.

50 posted on 01/29/2007 8:02:22 AM PST by William Terrell (Individuals can exist without government but government can't exist without individuals.)
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