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Earth Science

Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans As Antarctic Ice Melts 784

mdsolar (1045926) writes "The collapse of large parts of the ice sheet in West Antarctica appears to have begun and is almost certainly unstoppable, with global warming accelerating the pace of the disintegration, two groups of scientists reported Monday. The finding, which had been feared by some scientists for decades, means that a rise in global sea level of at least 10 feet may now be inevitable. The rise may continue to be relatively slow for at least the next century or so, the scientists said, but sometime after that it will probably speed up so sharply as to become a crisis."
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Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans As Antarctic Ice Melts

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  • In a century... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @03:20PM (#46982339)

    it can be somebody else's problem!

    (I stole the baby boomers generation playbook)

  • Re:Chicken Little (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @03:24PM (#46982397) Homepage Journal

    Chicken Little because it isn't going to happen in your lifetime?

    I don't get it. This is happening.

  • Re:Chicken Little (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @03:30PM (#46982461) Journal

    Just remember, short term comfort ALWAYS trumps long term viability. We live in a world dominated by the next few fiscal quarters. It's a breeding ground for sociopaths and the mentally deficient dupes who follow them.

    Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we shall day is literally the motto for so many people.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @03:31PM (#46982479)

    Well, let's find out if that's actually true. Here's a math problem: The salinity of the ocean is 3.5%, and the ocean has an average depth of 3700 meters. If enough fresh water is added to the ocean to increase its depth by 3 meters, what is the new salinity of the ocean?

    (Answer: 3.5%, i.e. not significantly different from before.)

  • Re:Chicken Little (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Monday May 12, 2014 @03:33PM (#46982513) Journal

    So what do you want to do about it? We live in the real world, most of us in elective democracies where any politician that purposes a reduction in the standard of living will quickly find himself out of a job. Green energy doesn't scale and nuclear is a bad word, so where do you propose we get the gigajoules needed to both run Western civilization and bring the third world out of poverty?

    The climate change crowd never has a good answer for this question. Thankfully we're an adaptable species, arguably the most adaptable ever to live on the blue marble. I think we'll manage just fine.

  • rising water? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @03:39PM (#46982599)


    The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is the segment of the continental ice sheet that covers West (or Lesser) Antarctica, the portion of Antarctica on the side of the Transantarctic Mountains which lies in the Western Hemisphere. The WAIS is classified as a marine-based ice sheet, meaning that its bed lies well below sea level and its edges flow into floating ice shelves.

    Marine based ice sheets do not affect sea level.

  • Re:Translation... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @03:52PM (#46982749)

    Kind of convenient, since none of the people predicting all this chaos will be around to answer for it if their predictions come out completely wrong.

    It's a con artists dream:

    "Hey the world is going to end 100 years from now. Give me lots of money and I'll help your descendents deal with it."

    [cut to said descendents 100 years later] "That lying sonofabitch..."

  • Re:In a century... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @04:06PM (#46982933) Homepage
    in a century we have no idea what might happen. Its possible that the ice may reform there or somewhere else negating the rise. Also the ice has come and gone many many times before. Where I live in NY was at one point under a mile of ice. Climate change is real, we adapted in centuries past, we will adapt in centuries future
  • Re:Hurray (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @04:09PM (#46982993)

    comments like these.

    Well yes, that's how it works. Flamebait gets modded as flamebait. If you find that all the posts like this one are being modded similarly, it just means that the modding isn't some statistical outlier and that the masses have a consensus for what they consider "flamebait".

  • Re:Translation... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @04:15PM (#46983071)

    We're already seeing large scale changes. The crisis *is* actually occurring.

    What, specifically, are these "large scale changes" you claim we're already seeing? I am sure many people would be interested to know, since most of us aren't seeing them.

    But then, most of us don't see 6-foot rabbits, either. I suppose that isn't proof they don't exist.

  • Re:In a century... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @04:19PM (#46983123)

    *cough* [] *cough* []

  • by beltsbear ( 2489652 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @04:28PM (#46983233)

    Maybe global warming will be self correcting then.

  • by asylumx ( 881307 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @04:29PM (#46983235)
    I didn't know global warming only affected air temps...?
  • Re:Chicken Little (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Monday May 12, 2014 @04:30PM (#46983259) Journal

    We do expect and demand that the public change their lifestyles quite a bit.

    Which won't change a damned thing, because the third world is not going to meekly sit back and accept their current level of development. The United States could literally cease to exist tomorrow and the freed energy wouldn't be enough to bring the billions in the third world out of poverty. You can't even convince Westerners to waste less, but you think you're going to convince those in the third world to meekly accept their current lot in life?

    First we need less babies.

    Capping family sizes is antithetical to western notions of freedom. That's literally the most personal decision you can make, it's not something that can be imposed from the top down in our societies. A civilization without our reverence for individual liberty tried it and arguably failed, or at the very least created all manner of unintended consequences with deleterious outcomes that still haven't been fully quantified.

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @04:37PM (#46983345)

    Once again, everyone uses their own biased sources. You're both wrong. The only ice that matters is the ice that was ON LAND before and is now IN THE OCEAN and bellow the water line. Does melting ice in a glass of water raise the level of water in the glass? No. Put a new ice cube in, does the water level raise equivalent to the volume of ice? No. It raises equivalent to the volume of ice bellow the water line.

    What volume of ice was their on the land 100 years ago? No one knows. There's no way to find out. Probably more than there is now. The truth is probably more on the side of people concerned about climate change and less on the side of the people who deny it. That said, things aren't nearly as bad as the alarmists would have you think. This is something we should address, but stupid knee jerk reactions based on made up science are what alienates people and gives the deniers an excuse to stall and do nothing. Lets have real facts, and common sense so we can address a growing problem that will hurt our great grandchildren.

  • Re:In a century... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AaronW ( 33736 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @04:56PM (#46983551) Homepage

    It's not really in question any more if it is caused by man or not, since most scientists agree that it is, and the whole global cooling thing was never taken seriously. The basic science behind global warming has been understood for nearly a century (i.e carbon dioxide) and it's pretty clear that the vast majority of it comes from burning fossile fuels.

    The problem is that we're like a bunch of frogs dumped in a pot with the heat turned on high.

  • Re:Translation... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bzipitidoo ( 647217 ) <> on Monday May 12, 2014 @06:28PM (#46984557) Journal

    Do you have any problem with the fact that some time in the distant future, the sun will stop shining? Maybe 5 billion years from now? No problem?

    Okay, how about the fact that rivers change course? The Mississippi might have already switched to the Atchafalaya, if not for our meddling. We don't want New Orleans made useless. No problem with that either?

    Then, what of the fact that large and powerful corporations lie, and engage in propaganda campaigns? You know, like Big Tobacco did? And like Wall Street did not too long ago with home mortgages? And like Big Oil does now? Big Oil lies about a lot of things, like the safety of offshore oil drilling. An accident like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill wasn't supposed to happen. When it did, they kept right on lying, about the rate of the leak and the amount of damage it was doing. Are we still okay here? Corporations routinely tell self serving lies, agreed? And surely you see that, whether or not Climate Disruption is real, Big Oil is highly motivated to be dismissive of warnings about it. If Climate Disruption is real and a huge problem, and Big Oil knows it, would they attempt to distract and deceive the public with propaganda campaigns? Yes, yes, they would. Still with me, I hope?

    Now let's look at the other side. Either a) scientists are right and Climate Disruption is real, happening right now, and will cause huge problems. Or b) scientists are united in a big conspiracy to lie about Climate Disruption because it gets them more grant money, or c) scientists are morons and are getting it all wrong. The trouble with b) and c) is that they are not at all credible. I hope no one seriously credits c), it's just too implausible. As for b), you do realize that the flow of grant money does not much depend on the subject matter. If anything, being forced to study and restudy the climate takes away money that could have been used for other science. The public has turned negative and cut back funding for all science, so I'd have to say the Great Conspiracy, if it exists, is not working and if anything is backfiring. And do you suppose smarties like scientists wouldn't see that? And if their main interest was grant money, wouldn't they change their tune to the nicey nicey good news the public seems to want? Why haven't they done so then? Why haven't they dropped this story of Climate Disruption like a radioactive spud, given the damage it's doing to scientific funding? Could it be because it's real, and scientists are honestly worried about it?

    Also, don't you understand how competitive science can be? For the time being we're stuck with anti-competitive oligopolies in oil and banking and several other industries. But not in science. If a few scientists had good evidence that Climate Disruption was wrong, do you suppose they would keep quiet and maintain the front? No way! They'd all be scrambling to publish first. It'd be a bombshell, like figuring out how to build a usable quantum computer and breaking many and perhaps all of our public key encryption schemes.

    As for the evidence you demand, the "large scale changes", you have only to open your eyes and admit that what's right in front of your nose is indeed exactly that. Just 180 years ago, atmospheric CO2 was about 280 ppm. Now it's 400ppm, certainly higher than it has been in nearly 1 million years, and probably higher than any level in the last 20 million years. That is a very fast change. We're seeing ocean acidification. And we are indeed seeing higher average temperatures. In recent years, we've had far more record highs than record lows. The Arctic Ice Cap is smaller than it has ever been in recorded history. Antarctic ice shelves such as Larson A and B have collapsed. How can you hear of such events and not think they are significant?

  • by VTBlue ( 600055 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @07:35PM (#46985153)

    The national debt is a misnomer unlike climate change. Climate change involves real consequences. The national debt is a financial residual value that has no economic meaning in real terms. It's not the national debt that is important, it's inflation that we should be monitoring. As it stands we actually need more inflation today as well as more government spending.

  • Re:Translation... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by riverat1 ( 1048260 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:47PM (#46985621)

    You know, that sentiment cuts both ways. None of the people who are blocking action on AGW will be around to be pilloried either if it turns out that they were wrong.

  • Re:Translation... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ralph Wiggam ( 22354 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @12:48PM (#46990817) Homepage

    Why were those old thermometers always wrong in the negative direction?

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire