Arctic ice twice the area of the UK melted last week

From The Guardian:

Now, the melting of arctic ice, which is free-floating in the first place, does not by itself threaten a rise in sea levels. But what does this bode for the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps?!

Well, I blame Al Gore. :wink:

I’ve been sure for quite some time that I’d see dramatic geographic change in my lifetime. I’m more sure than ever, now.

Dunno about them, but the melting of the Arctic icecap will accelerate global warming.

Ice, after all, is an excellent reflector. Sunlight hits the icecap, and while some of it is absorbed and turned into heat, most of it gets reflected back into space.

When sunlight instead hits the dark waters of the Arctic Ocean, a lot less is reflected out, and a lot more of the light gets absorbed as heat.

Hey, I’ve got a great idea: let’s go to the moon and Mars!

Good.

I’m really getting tired of cold winters.

Good thing we moved away from the coast.

This might be a good thing:
-arctic ports (like Churchill, Canada) are able to ship grain to Europe-closer than East Coast ports by 1000 miles.
-Mining operations in the high Arctic now would be economically feasible-world’s largest deposit of iron ore on Bffin Island
-Siberian Ports can now ship to Europe, USA
-Boreal forests expand northwards-more timber available.
-Growing season longer in Northern Hemisphere

[QUOTE=BrainGluttonNow, the melting of arctic ice, which is free-floating in the first place, does not by itself threaten a rise in sea levels. [/QUOTE]

Not strictly true according to an article I read recently.

Salt water is denser than fresh water, so there will be a slight increase from floating ice melting as well.

Otara

:confused: But isn’t the icecap made of frozen salt water?

I’d say that in the case of Greenland its pretty conclusive that its melting as well. IIRC on one of the shows on Discovery or the Science Channel someone was claiming its nearly back to where it was when the Vikings colonized it…and the speed its melting seems to be accelerating. Antartica is pretty much the same proposition…I remember seeing comparisons of satelite pictures showing how much things have changed there.

I’d say that anyone who is still in denial that GW is happening, regardless of the cause, is being willfully ignorant at this point.

-XT

Of course. ed (woops…didn’t mean of course not there)
From Wiki:

-XT

Not all of it. Any snow that falls on the ice cap will be from fresh water. I have no idea what the proportions are.

I’ll be sure to pass along those assurances to the peoples of the Pacific islands, New York City, the Netherlands, New Orleans, etc., etc.

Not as such. Because of the way ice forms, it will have a lower salt content than sea water. As crystals of ice form, it tends to force salt ions out, so the water ends up being less salty than the solution it comes from.

The remaining salt forms more concentrated brine, which then tends to sink out of the ice into the ocean below, due to it still being a liquid, unless it gets trapped.

I may have that wrong, but thats my understanding.

Otara

From what I’ve seen and heard there’s no hope, but maybe we can prepare and adapt. How do we tell developing countries like China and India that they don’t get their turn on the merry-go-round, because the climate system can only withstand that level of consumption in Europe, the Anglosphere, and Japan?

On the NG channel I saw a climatologist last night who said there was some reason to hope, based on the fact that we gave up using lead in pretty much everything, and environmental lead had dropped to almost nothing. As he put it, we realized the lead was making us stupid, so we gave it up.

Too bad we were stupid on lead when we decided to throw away most of our mass transit systems and switch to car-dependent lifestyles.

At the current much faster rate of sea level rise, how long do you think before the sea level rises 1 meter? :dubious:

Wait a minute here: “Experts say they are “stunned” by the loss of ice, with an area almost twice as big as the UK disappearing in the last week alone.” Is that for real? Is that accurate? Cause that sounds like a WHOLE BUNCH of ice, REAL fast… I know we are losing ice fast, but that fast??

And how much ice are they talking about, anyway, in terms of volume? “Twice the area of the UK” merely specfies an area.

And it doesn’t compare to how much ice usually melts, as of course the artic ice cap usually reduces greatly during the summer. :dubious:

The exact same wording is used in quite a few news reports. Not one I could find cites an original scientific source- other than the Guardian. :dubious:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/06/AR2007090602499.html

In other news, birds report being tarred and feathered “only half bad”.

While I appreciate panic as much as the next guy, I must ask, with respect to this business of “twice the size of the UK:” how much ice melted in an equivalent time period 20 years ago? Fifty years ago? And what’s the delta betwen those figures and now?

That description is dramatic, but it doesn’t tell us how much “should” have melted, as melting occurs every summer. More melted than expect, yes – but how much more? Not “an area the size of the UK.”