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City-Sized Ice Shelf Breaks Free Of Antarctica 249

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the larry-ellison's-latest-island-fortress dept.
LeadSongDog writes "Germany's TerraSAR-X satellite is showing that the Antarctic's Pine Island ice shelf has calved a 'berg of 720 square kilometres, 'the size of Hamburg.' Angelika Humbert says 'The Western Antarctic land ice is on land which is deeper than sea level. Its "bed" tends towards the land. The danger therefore exists that these large ice masses will become unstable and will start to slide.' The article extrapolates that 'If the entire West Antarctic ice shield were to flow into the Ocean, this would lead to a global rise in sea level of around 3.3 meters.' Goodbye Florida.
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City-Sized Ice Shelf Breaks Free Of Antarctica

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  • FINALLY! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @01:32PM (#44241093) Journal

    I knew those 569 acres of land on the Arizona/California border would gain some value. Just didn't think it would happen so soon. Anyone want to buy my new ocean-front property?

  • Dooomed (Score:4, Funny)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @01:32PM (#44241095)

    Dooomed we are all doooom.
    Dooooooomed!

    • Re:Dooomed (Score:5, Funny)

      by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @01:51PM (#44241353)
      Puny humans do not yet know the meaning of the word "doomed".
    • the land ice's land water is deeper than....wait...above or not as deep....fuck.
    • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

      Dooooooomed!

      Yes, in general, however those living in coastal regions will dooooom first. The rest of us will need to acclimate to some intense heat and drought before the welcome relief of doooom sets in.

    • by 1800maxim (702377) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @02:11PM (#44241663)
      The oppressive regime of Antarctica has long been opressing its constituents.

      The world celebrates the ice shelf's newly found freedom, and hopes this will pave the way to democracy in the entire region. When asked about what the ice shelf plans to do with its newly found freedom, it humbly replied "just going to drift a few kms that way, hopefully leading the way for many others to follow."

      When asked for comment, the visibly agitated Penguin Brotherhood declined to comment beyond blaming the west-sponsored Carbon Revolution.
    • We are? I better tape this flashlight to my gun, then.

    • by Jawnn (445279)

      Dooomed we are all doooom. Dooooooomed!

      Well..., yes. None of us gets out alive, but if your intent is to sarcastically suggest that this event is not another in a line of well documented indicators of climate change, nice try.

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      I'm going to sing the doom song now. Doom de doom de doom...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ultranova (717540)

      Dooomed we are all doooom.

      Pretty much, yeah. Even if this iceberg doesn't get us, and even if climate change won't, the by-now ingrained habbit of putting fingers in your ears and shitposting to drown out unpleasant facts effectively nullifies your intelligence, thus making it impossible to consider or react efficiently to any situation. Since intelligence is our sole evolutionary advantage, and since climate chance denial has made pretending stupidity fashionable, we're pretty much doomed.

      Still, at least

  • by JustNiz (692889)

    >> The Western Antarctic land ice is on land which is deeper than sea level.

    Umm.. isn't it impossible to have land that isn't deeper than sea level?

    • Re:what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Entropius (188861) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @01:35PM (#44241135)

      I think the point is that the boundary between the ice and the rock is below sea level.

    • My Minecraft home floats above the ocean. Does that count?

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      Check the Dead Sea [wikipedia.org] in the Middle East, 423 meters below sea level,
    • Re:what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @01:41PM (#44241203)

      Wait what?

      Umm.. isn't it impossible to have land that isn't deeper than sea level?

      By definition, that is land. My guess is that you meant to ask if it is impossible to have land below sea level, and the answer is no. Much of New Orleans and Death Valley in the US are below sea level, they just happen to be surrounded by natural (and some artificial) barriers that keep the water out.

      My understanding of the point is that the ice in question is standing on solid land below the ocean's surface, which means that its volume is not currently reflected by the height of the oceans today. In addition, the land is sloped towards the rest of the ocean so, should the ice in question calve off it will enter the ocean rather than simply cracking but staying put.

      • Re:what? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Em Adespoton (792954) <slashdotonly.1.adespoton@spamgourmet.com> on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @01:50PM (#44241347) Homepage Journal

        Wait what?

        Umm.. isn't it impossible to have land that isn't deeper than sea level?

        By definition, that is land. My guess is that you meant to ask if it is impossible to have land below sea level, and the answer is no. Much of New Orleans and Death Valley in the US are below sea level, they just happen to be surrounded by natural (and some artificial) barriers that keep the water out.

        My understanding of the point is that the ice in question is standing on solid land below the ocean's surface, which means that its volume is not currently reflected by the height of the oceans today. In addition, the land is sloped towards the rest of the ocean so, should the ice in question calve off it will enter the ocean rather than simply cracking but staying put.

        An added issue, which has been seen in the past couple of decades in Greenland, is that if the ice calves and slides into the ocean, not only will mass previously perched on land enter the ocean, but the mass removed from the antarctic plate will cause the plate to rise significantly... causing less volume for the ocean in that area, and REALLY messing with plate tectonics.

        Some people think there's a correlation between the rising landmass in Greenland and some of the recent quakes in the Pacific.

        • by polar red (215081)

          I also wonder if a big piece (like say a few cubic km) of ice slides in the water at few km/h. a really big tsunami ?

          • Re:what? (Score:5, Informative)

            by H0p313ss (811249) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @02:48PM (#44242125)

            I also wonder if a big piece (like say a few cubic km) of ice slides in the water at few km/h. a really big tsunami ?

            Yes, if that were to happen the result would be quite dramatic. But the chunk we're talking about is the leading tongue of an ice shelf that is already floating at sea level and the crack that caused this calving has been tracked since 2011 so it's not exactly a dramatic change as the media would like you to believe.

      • by Ioldanach (88584)

        My understanding of the point is that the ice in question is standing on solid land below the ocean's surface, which means that its volume is not currently reflected by the height of the oceans today.

        But, if it all melted, that portion of the ice which is below sea level would not contribute to an increase in sea level, because the land it was on would then be inundated with water.

      • by Baby Duck (176251)

        The summary says: Its "bed" tends towards the land.

        Yet you say: the land is sloped towards the rest of the ocean

        Aren't those contradictory inclines? If it tends toward the land, then wouldn't gravity more likely make it collapse toward the center of the land mass and not towards the ocean?

    • That seems fairly straightforward I would assume that means that were the ice is sitting the the ground that ground is below sea level. What I wonder is what this means:

      Its "bed" tends towards the land. The danger therefore exists that these large ice masses will become unstable and will start to slide.

      Specifically the bed tends towards the land part as that is terminology I am not familiar with.

      • Based on the context (the 'danger' part) I think it means that it's resting on the ground with is sloping away from shore. So that if it slips it will slip into the ocean causing sea level rise since there more ice above water than would be if it was floating.
    • Re:what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @01:51PM (#44241363)

      >> The Western Antarctic land ice is on land which is deeper than sea level.

      Umm.. isn't it impossible to have land that isn't deeper than sea level?

      If it's possible anywhere on Earth, it's surely possible on a continent that can have a "western" part despite covering all geographic longitudes.

      • by booch (4157)

        Yeah, obviously they should have said the "northern" part of Antarctica.

    • "Below sea level" and "above sea level" are useful concepts. Don't quibble about how rock deep below Mount Everest is somehow "below sea level."

    • by jimshatt (1002452)

      Umm.. isn't it impossible to have land that isn't deeper than sea level?

      Lets cancel out some negatives here: Is it possible to have land that isn't deeper than sea level? Is it possible to have land that is higher than sea level? Why yes, that's entirely possible!

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      >> The Western Antarctic land ice is on land which is deeper than sea level.

      Umm.. isn't it impossible to have land that isn't deeper than sea level?

      It's pretty much a requirement for the land to be able to tip over [youtube.com].

  • Good old Walt might finally get his due... I can't wait.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Judging by the hole in the satellite picture
    The ice we skate is getting pretty thin
    The water's getting warm so you might as well swim
    My world's on fire how about yours
    That's the way I like it and I never get bored

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Sooner Boomer (96864)

      Judging by the hole in the satellite picture
      The ice we skate is getting pretty thin
      The water's getting warm so you might as well swim
      My world's on fire how about yours
      That's the way I like it and I never get bored

      Burma Shave

  • How's that? (Score:5, Funny)

    by tchdab1 (164848) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @01:39PM (#44241185) Homepage

    Could somebody translate that into Chicago-units? Here in the US we're having trouble visualizing this.

  • Now isn't this how Sitchin theorized the Great Flood occurred? Well I guess in his books it was the pull of visiting planet that caused the ice sheet to slide into the Atlantic--but same result...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @01:43PM (#44241245)

    Darn metric system! How many Libraries of Congress is that equivalent to?

  • New Unit! (Score:3, Funny)

    by WillgasM (1646719) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @01:45PM (#44241287) Homepage
    I propose we swiftly adopt the "Hamburg" as a new unit of measurement.
  • The Swedish people that make the ice hotel [icehotel.com] can turn this into a vacation resort!

  • Sea Level Map (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WillgasM (1646719) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @01:54PM (#44241401) Homepage
    A 3m rise in sea level is significant, but will hardly wipe out Florida or California. Check your map [geology.com] before you start building that new condo.
  • Was there a bloop [wikipedia.org] or a train [wikipedia.org]?
  • Sigh... Again? (Score:3, Informative)

    by scsirob (246572) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @02:01PM (#44241517)

    Every year we get at least one or two pieces of ice breaking from the main shield. Happens at both poles. It's normal.

    And every year the article ends with some kind of fatalistic "IF blah blah blah we are DOOOMED!"
    Puhlease... We have worse things to worry about than fantasy threats.

    • Re:Sigh... Again? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @02:27PM (#44241875)

      Every year we get at least one or two pieces of ice breaking from the main shield. Happens at both poles. It's normal.

      True. What's not normal is the amount of ice breaking away. Pine Island and Thwates glacier are speeding up. They're calving more ice into the ocean than before. Sure they calved before, but not as much or as often.

  • by RKThoadan (89437) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @02:04PM (#44241567)

    Thankfully the fine folks over at xkcd pointed the way to the solution yesterday: http://what-if.xkcd.com/53/ [xkcd.com]

    All we need is a portal to... anywhere not in Earths gravitational influence I guess, and we'll be set!

  • Where the hell is the *west* antarctic ??? Well, west of east antarctic obviously. Stil...
  • by 0123456 (636235) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @02:14PM (#44241707)

    A tiny chunk of ice (relative to the size of the world) breaks off Antarctica and we're all doomed!

    It's not as though tiny chunks of ice have been breaking off Antarctica ever since it first froze, or that most of Antarctica is cooling.

    • by dywolf (2673597)

      Your analysis and your data is incorrect.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Pino Grigio (2232472)
        His analysis is spot on. The "article extrapolates" [to absurdity] isn't unusual when it comes to these things, because absurd extrapolation generates grant funding from government.
  • Goodbye Florida.

    if you're trying to imply some sort of value by comparing an ice shelf to florida, you may be mistaken to find the ice shelf greatly outvalues florida in the opinion of quite a number of americans.

  • its been pretty dry there the last decade, except for this year
    the lake is full and lots of water in the reservoir for drinking water from the spring snow melts

  • lots of games being rained out this year
    more water in the atmosphere will play havoc with their crazy 162 game schedule

  • 1. Tell everyone in Florida that 3.3 meters of water is coming

    2. Allow the person who understands what 3.3 meters of water means to move to wherever they want

    3. Celebrate
    • by roc97007 (608802)

      1. Tell everyone in Florida that 3.3 meters of water is coming

      2. Allow the person who understands what 3.3 meters of water means to move to wherever they want

      3. Celebrate

      4. Profit!

  • he predicted sea levels would rise around the turn of the 21st century and that the coastal areas of the southeast US would be underwater etc
  • by tmosley (996283) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @03:54PM (#44242837)
    Smells like fearmongering.

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