A theory on public ice caps.

I have a theory that I would like to substantiate. To a scientist, this is so blatantly obvious that I’m sure that there is some problem with it, but here goes: people are always afraid that the depletion of the ozone layer will melt the polar ice caps, drowning us all as the ocean levels rise to extraordinary heights. However, I think that this is a needless worry. For this theory, I am assuming that 90% of an iceberg is underwater. Archimedes’ Theory of Buoyancy states that an object immersed in a fluid displaces the same volume of fluid as the volume of the object. Hence, if all icebergs were taken away, the ocean level would actually fall. Couple to this the idea that when water freezes, the molecules expand, increasing the overall volume. Therefore, I reason that if the icebergs melt, the volume would drastically be reduced, and because 90% of the iceberg is underwater, only 10%, or the “tip of the iceberg”, will add water to the ocean. If all icebergs suddenly melted, I think that the ocean level would not drastically rise at all, and may, in fact, even drop. With all that said, I just wanted to see what you all have to say.

One problem with your theory is that the ice caps aren’t just big iceburgs. The bulk of them are sitting on top of land. If they were to melt, that water would run off into the ocean.

Only the southern polar cap sits on land.

For info (and great pictures) on the Greenland ice cap see:

http://www.greenland-guide.dk/gt/images.htm

Ron

Wrong. Archimedes’s LAW says that an object immersed in fluid displaces its WEIGHT; that’s why ships’ displacement is measured in tons, and that’s why melting icebergs will cause the sea level to go up.

However, since the vast majority of the world’s ice is on land, this effect is hardly worth mentioning.

First the depletion of the ozone layer isn’t related with the melting of ice caps. It’s a different issue. The depletion of the ozone layer is the threat for human and animal life because ozone “screens” the UV. The melting of ice caps would result from the global warming.

Now, concerning the melting of ice. The arctic, indeed, is a frozen sea. So, if only the north pole ice were to melt, the level of the sea would fall. But most of the ice on earth is actually on land. In the antarctic (which is a continent), in mountainous areas (glaciers), in northern lands like Greenland, Alaska, etc…So, if the temperatures were to rise, these continental ice would melt and the level of the sea would rise also. Also, the volume of a given quantity of water expand when temperature rise. So, the level of the sea would rise in case of global warming, even if there was no ice melting.

Apart from the level of the sea, the melting of the ice caps/changes in sea water temperatures could result in changes in the marine currents. For instance, Europe benefit from a temperate climate thanks to the warm “gulf stream” which flows along its coast. Without it, the european climate would be similar to Canada’s.

First the depletion of the ozone layer isn’t related with the melting of ice caps. It’s a different issue. The depletion of the ozone layer is a threat for human and animal life because ozone “screens” the UV. The melting of ice caps would result from the global warming.

Now, concerning the melting of ice. The arctic, indeed, is a frozen sea. So, if only the north pole ice were to melt, the level of the sea would fall. But most of the ice on earth is actually on land. In the antarctic (which is a continent), in mountainous areas (glaciers), in northern lands like Greenland, Alaska, etc…So, if the temperatures were to rise, these continental ice would melt and the level of the sea would rise also. Also, the volume of a given quantity of water expand when temperature rise. So, the level of the sea would rise in case of global warming, even if there was no ice melting.

Apart from the level of the sea, the melting of the ice caps/changes in sea water temperatures could result in changes in the marine currents. For instance, Europe benefit from a temperate climate thanks to the warm “gulf stream” which flows along its coast. Without it, the european climate would be similar to Canada’s.

The northern polar cap has moved to Greenland?

Why didn’t y’all tell me!

Floating ice doesn’t affect the water level at all when it melts. Try it with a glass of ice water. That’s because of Archimedes Law. Of course, I’m not sure how salinity would affect the process, since the oceans are salty but the icebergs aren’t, but it’s true that the melting of all the floating ice wouldn’t affect sea level.

But, as everyone else has pointed out, the ice over the poles is not all floating (in fact, most of it isn’t). The melting of the land-supported ice would definitely raise sea level.

I wonder how much the land in Antarctica and Greenland would raise, since it wouldn’t have the weight of all that frozen water pushing it down into the mantle?

Why are they public ice caps? Are there private ice caps? Do you have to a membership card to get to them?