Ice Caps and a Flooded Earth

I’m reading through this thread and it reminded me of a question I’ve been meaning to ask. If the polar ice caps melt why would the overall water level on earth rise at all? I was under the impression that when some frozen water melts the overall water level does not change because the diference in volume of ice and water is evened out by the amount of ice that is above the surface of the water. (hope that makes sense) The only explanation I can come up with is that there may be some impurities in the ice that would alter this relationship (I remember from physics class a question about the final water level when an ice cube in a glass of water had a nickel in or opposed to having a cockroach in it)

The Ross iceshelf in Antarctica is not actually in the water. It is sitting on a huge slab of rock. If the temperatures were to rise enough that the shelf cracked slid into the ocean that would be a huge addition to the present quantity of water. I don’t think anyone actually knows exactly how much water is held in the Ross iceshelf but you can bet it’s enough to change the shorelines of all continents.

Think of Florida! most of it is swamp already. if the water level rose 3 feet you could kiss most of it good-bye! :eek: Maybe Miami could get the Dutch to help build dykes or something.

How about it? Anyone got any hard numbers of the volume of water pent up in the Antarctic ice sheets?

Thanks, I had no idea all that ice wasn’t just floating around as huge glaciers up there

That’s just it, LifeWillFall, glaciers don’t float - they occupy dry land.

As to the numbers, glaciers occupy about 10% of the earth’s land area, but contain upwards of 75% (!) of the earth’s freshwater supply. If they were to all melt, the water levels would rise about 70 meteres worldwide.

These and other fun glacial facts can be found here.

This issue is discussed in detail in the novel Atlantis Found, by Clive Cussler, recently #1 on The New York Times Bestseller List.

A large corporation funded by old Nazi money attempts to wipe out all of humanity, except themselves, by instantly detaching the Ross Ice Shelf from Anarctica. They planned to escape in four massive arks that would safely ride out the tidal waves that would ensue after the ice migrated toward the equator and had shifted the rotation of the earth. They had planned to do so by incorporating a large network of micro-kinetic somethings that basically melt the shelf off of it’s foundation.
But if the ice caps were to melt naturally it would effect very little of the coast line. New york, bah! Washington D.C., bah! Los Angeles, bah!, Tokyo, bah!, Florida, bah! I believe that the water levels of the oceans would only rise a couple hundred feet(no cite). That’s why the Mormons settled in Utah. Smart, huh? :smiley:

Another small point is that water is densest (sp?) at 4 degrees Celsius (about 40 F). You get the added bonus of having water occupying an even greater volume than if it were frozen (or slightly chilled).

Slightly off topic, but isn’t this picture very, very cool?

Wow, I had no idea barnicles could get that big!

That is a cool picture; I’ve seen it before. Somewhat sadly, I beleive it is a fake. Real top, possibly real bottom, but most likely spliced together. That’s one mighty big lens to cut across 1/4 mile of ocean surface:D!

I don’t think it’s presented as being a photograph, mmmiiikkkeee. It’s an illustration, and therefore not a “fake.”

I think you got turned around there, kylen. Greater density=lesser volume (given constant mass). Ice is going to take up more room than water, because of its lesser density.

that is a very cool pic. looks like me in the swimming pool! :slight_smile:

I was refering to the expansion of the existing ocean water as well as the glacial melt water once it had been heated during the whole global warming episode, not to the ice per se. I am assuming that the mean global oceanic temperature would begin to rise above 4 degrees (assuming that global warming doesn’t end with the melting of the ice sheets), causing an increase in the volume of the water already in the oceans.

Not a significant increase compared to the introduction of glacial waters, but an increase all the same.

That’s quite right, but this page certainly suggests that it has been touted as a real photograph on the net.

Although South Beach is pretty free living, most of the dykes are in Key West.

News Flash! - the Earth is already flooded.

We now return to your regularly scheduled program.

The 70 meters figure is accurate, but it would take a lot more global warming than even the more pessimistic scientists predict to melt all the ice on Earth since we have a big continent covering the south pole right now. There were times in the past when there were no permanent ice caps but I believe most of those were when there was no land at the poles and the Earth was much warmer than it is during the current ice age, 7F to 15F. There is evidence the atmosphere was quite different in composition than today (bubbles in amber) and solar output may have been higher too.

This was one of the things that bothered me about AI. The water levels could reach Lady Liberty’s armpits if for some reason ALL the ice melted, but not cover her head.