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The News I've Been Dreading

When the global glaciers began to retreat, I knew that all the GOP spin in the world wasn't going to stop the climate change story from eventually getting attention. Big chunks of frozen tundra melt, and the Siberian railway will sink into mud. When polar ice melts, polar bears hunting grounds disappear. People notice.

Of course, not all melting ice is created equal. The melting of the North Pole ice won't change sea levels, for example, because the ice is already floating in the ocean, and thus filling roughly the same volume.

Greenland is different. As anyone who has flown over the North Atlantic may have seen, it's a huge mass of ice miles thick, piled up on sharp, young mountains. When that ice melts, it will all go directly into the oceans, raising sea levels. According to Nature and the BBC, that melting is underway and will ultimately raise global sea levels by 24 feet. The good news is that melting that much ice takes a long time, in this case until either 2175 or possibly 2350. The total added to sea levels over the next 50 years is more likely to be smaller, in the range of 3 to 5 feet or so, which doesn't sound like much until you stand at the shore -- or live in a state like Florida, that is barely above sea level to begin with.

Iraq is really such a small problem by comparison.

Comments

( 6 sutras — Your wisdom )
exvee
Apr. 7th, 2004 03:12 pm (UTC)
"2175 or possibly 2350"

That's a pretty big fucking variation, dude. :P

It's kinda like saying "The world will end sometime between now and later."

:P

- Kyle
saycestsay
Apr. 7th, 2004 03:18 pm (UTC)
I prefer 'later.'
the_monkey_king
Apr. 7th, 2004 03:22 pm (UTC)
Later seems increasingly unlikely.

To be fair to the researchers, they did point out that the ice cap melts at 3 degrees above current temps, but the 2350 date shows as much as 8 degrees rise in temperature. I just have the BBC version of the research to go on; I'm sure I can get more details down at the library from the new issue of Nature.

And it's worth keeping in mind that nobody's measured this sort of thing before, so it's insanely difficult to pin down an exact year when the last of the ice disappears. I'm just saying that map of Florida might be the one your grandchildren study in school, exvee.
(Deleted comment)
mckitterick
Apr. 7th, 2004 07:13 pm (UTC)
Did you see the story I linked here?
http://www.livejournal.com/~mckitterick/34580.html

So, some time between 2025 and 2350, we are doomed. Doomed, I tell you. Bwaaaahahahaha! But if you're a Bushite, why should you care? Heck, you already built your defensible compound and own most of the world. So, bread and circuses... and bloodsports.

Chris
mighty_mongo
Apr. 9th, 2004 09:02 am (UTC)
Beachfront Property?
So it's time to buy that beachfront property in Reno? I personally plan to be around in 2175 - anyone care to join me in the REIT?
( 6 sutras — Your wisdom )

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