T Nation

Melting Polar Ice Caps


I'm getting verklempt. Talk among yourselves. I'll give you a topic

What does everyone think about the melting caps? I'm particularly interested in what the global warming non-believers have to say. Also, howcome they never explored the area before anyone brought attention to the melting ice?



Makes you wonder if the ocean levels would drop if they melted. If so, by how much.


if the ice caps melted, ocean levels would rise...not fall (drop)...


If they completely melted about 6% of the current land mass above water would be covered. Living in Australia I'm not particularly concerned for my own safety, but I think Da Hui would be in for a tough time.


90% of floating ice is under water. Ice expands when it freezes and contracts when it melts.
I might be a bit off, but I think that the rise would not be all that drastic.

Rising temeperatures, now that bothers me.
2005 was the first winter in (local) memory with no frost. A lot of farmers lost crops because the maize did not dry out. On a side note we hit 38 degrees centigrade in September, wich is unheard of. We are in for a long hot summer.


I am not really sure what is going on. It appears the northern ice caps are melting and many glaciers are receding.

The Antartic Peninsula appears to be melting, but the ice is actually getting thicker on the main continent.
The data I have seen indicates that more water will be stored as ice on the continent than will be melted from the Peninsula.

The sea levels have not to risen anywhere near the levels the climate alarmists have predicted.

I am not sure if there is a problem, if there is anything we can do or if it is a bunch of hype.

Keep pushing for more efficient use of our energy resources, keep studying the issue and don't panic.


Not sure what you mean by this. I am reading True North Peary, Cook and the Race to the Pole. Cool book.

We have been exploring and learning about these areas as quickly as technology has allowed.


Quite frankly, I wish they'd melt just a little faster. I'd like some prime ocean-front property in my lifetime.


The rising temps and the global warming idea to me is just that, an idea. I think that when you look at the timelines, we are basically still fresh from coming out of an ice age...so yes, temps will rise yearly for quite some time yet.


Most of the Arctic ice is not resting on a landmass, so if it melts, the water level stays the same. Just like an ice cube melting in your drink does not overflow your glass.

Only Greenland has any land underneath, if I'm not mistaken. Massive melting of it's ice shelf would affect world sea levels.

Antarctica, on the other hand, definitely has land underneath the ice shelf. Whatever melts from there is added to the current level.

Dropping massive amounts of ice into the oceans (as large slabs of ice break off and fall into the water) also affects water currents and wind patterns. So even if the water level does not change enough to cause massive flooding, more severe weather (such as tropical storms and hurricanes) might make life "interesting" for some regions.

That said, the whole "Global Warming" thing is based on hard-to-test science. There is a lot of suppositions and assumptions being "accepted" with little concrete evidence. A lot of data comes from computer models. The problem is to determine whether those models are accurate for real world predictions.

It appears that having ice at both poles has been a relatively rare event in the Earth's history. Whether we're having an impact, and whether it is significant is a lot more debatable than most media reports would have you believe.

The consensus among Soviet scientists is pretty much the opposite from the western ones: they don't believe that Global Warming is caused by man, but simply a natural cycle of the Earth.


I just saw a special on the news where they were just discovering all these creatures that live below the ice for the first time. I figured since it was the first time they had seen these no one has been exploring it, no?


Don't get scientific.

Here in South Texas, Xmas 2004 was the first time in memory we've had snow. A lot of snow at that.


Global warming?? Rising Sea Level?? dude..Im down with it.. I figure every year the beach gets that much closer and theres a couple more days a year I can wear shorts and flip-flops..

I leave my car running over night just to speed up the process



The only problem with that line of thinking is leaving out that industry was never this much of a factor as far as environmental waste. The pure sewage that was dumped right back into the ocean from New Orleans after Katrina had me thinking just how much we have the potential to screw up this planet if given enough time. Oil spills and pure garbage don't just disappear. I think most people need to keep an open mind. I just don't understand those who claim they "know" there is no potential threat from global warming. No one knows for sure what the outcome will be. It would make sense to walk on the side of caution.


Pollution, while related, is a different matter than global warming. I don't think anyone, except maybe for greedy and stupid corporate executives, advocates polluting the water and the air any more than strictly necessary.

The big question is whether the release of green house gases by man is the main cause, or enough of an aggravating factor, to explain recent climate changes.

While erring on the side of safety is a prudent approach, consider that the Kyoto accord will cost tens of billions globally and is forecast to reduce the global temperature by 0.07 degree Celsius by 2050. And that is if the science is reasonably accurate, which is less than certain.

Roughly, with a perfect implementation of Kyoto, we can buy 1 degree of global temperature reduction for $100 trillions. There are a lot of people asking if such an amount might not be better spent elsewhere, with a better impact as far as quality of life for humanity is involved.


My physics teachers point of view is that you're an idiot if you think we can produce enough energy to radically alter the temperature of the oceans.

From some other website:
The total
amount of water in the ocean doesn't change much. During the ice ages sea
level fell by more than 100 meters (more than 300 feet), and if all of the
existing glacial ice melted sea level would rise by an alarming but smaller

so the water will rise, and

4.8*10^15 gal. 3778.5 g/gal. *4.18 joules/g**C *1C = 7.6*10^19 j
the most powerful device we have ever used created 2.1*10^17 j, so theoretically we could have a huge effect on global warming if we kept dropping a ton of bombs. the energy consumption in the U.S. is in the ?*10^15 j range.

So in theory we could be raising the temperature of the oceans but how much of that energy is directed into oceans i dont know. I would guess that more of it is dissipated in the atmosphere. Maybe that energy is disipated into space? who knows. I know its not going directly into the ocean because for the last 10 years the beaches at cape cod have been in the low sixties and i'd assume they've been like that for a while.


As a grad student, I worked for NASA's Atmospheric Research Laboratory. I learned a few interesting things. Here they are:

1.) Mount Pinatubo - a volcano in the Phillipines that erupted in 1992 spouted more HCFC's into the atmosphere every 10 minutes than mankind has in their entire existence. It erupted for two weeks.

2.) Global warming? Here's some anecdotal evidence from the history books that suggests it's cyclical in nature. Ready? They grew grapes for wine in southern England during the 1400's. Can't do that now - too cold. Leif Eriksen sailed to Augusta, Maine (presumably to buy a blue lobster) in the 11th century in an open boat. Probably wasn't as cold then as now, eh? Ayup.

3.) Evidence from the dendrochronology lab at the University of Arizona (that's tree ring research) suggests the same cyclical nature. They looked at petrified tree rings. Sorry, I can't remember the dates or epochs.

Food for thought. It may not be as bad as we think and it may not be entirely becuase Houston's freeways are full of 9 passenger Suburbans with one person, each, in them - all going 80mph.

In fact, did you notice the F-150 is a LEV?



Global warming melting the Glaciers from Greenland will freshen the world's oceans. This in turn, will disrupt the flow of the Gulf stream. The Gulf Stream helps keep the Globe warm. With the disruption of the Gulf Stream, the Globe will cool, and a mini-ice age could follow.


I like how everybody knows what "will" or "won't" happen.

I'd agree that we need to be cautious about this. While we don't know for sure that we are fucking up the planet, we also don't know for sure that we aren't.

Being sure of either viewpoint is hubris.


I think that we can fuck up the planet on a small scale, but i seriously doubt we're changing the temperature of the earth. case in point we'd have to set off about 100 50 megaton nuclear bombs underwater to raise the temperature of the oceans 1 degrees Fahrenheit.