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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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  • Translation... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @03:33PM (#46982509)

    99.9%+ of the people alive today will not live to see the crisis, or even live long enough to know whether or not the crisis will actually occur.

  • by Wycliffe ( 116160 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @03:35PM (#46982545) Homepage

    Two things associated with global warming are a water shortage and rising sea levels.
    Seems like if we really wanted to we could use one to help the other.
    For instance pumping sea water to death valley and filling it full of water would
    create a ton more waterfront property. We have oil pipelines much longer than this.
    You could do the same thing by digging a big hole in the sahara desert or any other
    desert relatively close to the ocean. Heck, we could even solve the other potential
    problem of human overpopulation by creating more farmable land in the process.
    There are plenty of solutions to this problem. If this ever really becomes a problem
    you would think places like florida, etc.. could easily get together and finance
    a "water sequestering" plan that could possibly even make the world a better place.

  • Re:rising water? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @03:54PM (#46982783)

    No, you're very confused here. It's correct that the rock beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet is below sea level, but the ice sheet is not floating and sea level will certainly rise if the thing melts.

    Think of it this way. If you have an ice cube floating in your drink, it is 90% under water and 10% above water. If such an ice cube melts, the level of your drink doesn't change.

    Now imagine that instead of a free-floating, 90%-submerged ice cube, you have an ice cube that is suspended by a string so that it is 50% above water and 50% below water. This ice cube "wants" to settle lower in your drink so that it is 90% below water, and if it is allowed to do so, the level of your drink will rise. So if the ice cube is allowed to melt, the level of the drink will also rise, to exactly the same level it would reach if you cut the string.

    The WAIS is like a 50% submerged ice cube that wants to be 90% submerged.

  • Re:Chicken Little (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Monday May 12, 2014 @04:18PM (#46983109) Journal

    Ocean levels haven't been constant for the miniscule amount of time humanity has been around, never mind on a geologic scale. For that matter, the climate hasn't been static either, not even for our short amount of time on this rock.

    If predictions are true, it's going to suck, it's going to be painful, but we'll survive it. Asking people to forgo the benefits of civilization just isn't going to happen, and even if the killer app of energy is discovered tomorrow (fusion?) we're still going to have to adapt to the changes already under way.

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @04:31PM (#46983271) Journal
    So many are blaming the far right and rich ppl. Yet, I would have to say that it is the far right AND THE FAR LEFT. The left deserves a lot of blame for things. For example, they fight using symbolic gestures, rather than items that will make a difference. Take the case of keystone pipeline. Will it stop CO2 emissions or pollution? Nope. Canada currently transports via train all over north America. Will building the pipeline increase the emissions? Nope (might actually lower it slightly since pipelines are far more efficient than the train). What drives the tar oil is money. The fact is, that Canada will continuing mining it as long as it is economically feasible. And that will continue while oil is about 70/bl.
    Instead, the far left should be pushing for a COMPROMISE in which keystone is built, BUT,trade for changes that will lower the demand for oil. Best way is to temporarily subsidize NEW NAT. GAS COMMERCIAL VEHICLES, along with stations for CNG and LNG. In addition, modify the subsidies on electric vehicles. Basically, hybrids should not be included, or should have minimal subsidies.

    Then we have the far left screaming about America's emissions, while ignoring the fact that China, India, South Africa, Germany, Japan, other nations are building new coal plants. America accounts for less than 15% of emissions, and ours is dropping (both in % as well as in totals). In addition, America will be shutting down a number of coal plants over the next 3 years, and our emissions will likely be 13% or less.
    OTOH, China is building loads of new coal plants and accounts for more than 33% of CO2 emissions. In fact, they open up a new one EACH WEEK. And NONE OF THESE WILL BE CLOSED OVER THE NEXT 50 years. And yet, the far left screams that the west, esp. America, is to blame for all of this.
    Yet, if America were to stop ALL CO2 emissions, within 10 years, CHina's new additions would equal what America stopped. Yes, they are INCREASING BY an America's worth of CO2 EACH DECADE. That is just insane.
    Then add to this the fact that Europe is increasing their emissions as well. They are no longer dropping esp. since Poland and Germany are growing their coal plants.

    There are problems, but the real issue is NOT JUST THE WELL KNOWN FAR RIGHT.
    It is national leaders that want to cheat and the far left that will allow them to do so.
  • Re:Chicken Little (Score:4, Interesting)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday May 12, 2014 @05:58PM (#46984251) Homepage Journal

    " but we'll survive it. "
    based on..what? what happens at 500 ppm? 600 ppm? 1000 ppm?
    What happen when the sea temperature is too warm to support the lowest part of the food chain?

    250 - 350 ppm – background (normal) outdoor air level - OOPS past that
    350- 1,000 ppm - typical level found in occupied spaces with good air exchange.
    1,000 – 2,000 ppm - level associated with complaints of drowsiness and poor air.
    2,000 – 5,000 ppm – level associated with headaches, sleepiness, and stagnant, stale, stuffy air. Poor concentration, loss of attention, increased heart rate and slight nausea may also be present.

    Yeah, we kind of need an 'aggressive' plan to deal with this now.

    We need to be build large solar furnace, re-engineering the electrical grid, get coastal cities on board with moving inward with time, we need thorium reactors, we need to put tough regulation and taxes on vehicles.
    We need to get some sort of solar system on every house. Panels, some sort of shingle what ever. All this take time, so we need to start now. The longer we wait, the more we pay.

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!