NSF just now figures out Archimedes’ buoyancy principle

Being less dense, ice floats, displacing it's own weight in water - Image HowStuffWorks.com

Just like Archimedes discovered millennia ago, it is well known today that the Arctic ice cap displaces it’s own weight in the water so that when it melts it will not cause a rise in global sea level.

Surprisingly, the National Science Foundation has just figured this out (thanks to someone complaining about it) and has issued a correction to their sea ice page.

The error was first pointed out by commenter Steven Skinner on WUWT on March 25th 2010, who wrote:

The NSF, the U.S. Office of Naval Research, and the Japanese government cooperated in funding a research project called SHEBA (Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic) back in 1997. Considering the big names in funding I was surprised they allowed the conclusion in the last sentence past scientific proof reading before publication. The bit from ‘melting sea ice…’

It’s fixed now, see the BEFORE and AFTER.

BEFORE:

AFTER:

WUWT reader Dave Burton, who called NSF on the error and asked for a correction writes in an email to them:

Since the error was on your site for over 6.5 years, misleading readers into believing that melting sea ice contributes to coastal sea level rise, I think it is important that you identify the error on your site, with a footnote which explains what was wrong with it.

I always wondered why I’d get the occasional angry email claiming melting Arctic sea ice would raise sea levels dramatically and “why don’t you get it?” …to which I’d reply  “look up the principle of buoyancy”. Now I know.

Further suggested reading: 10 Scientific Laws and Theories You Really Should Know

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157 thoughts on “NSF just now figures out Archimedes’ buoyancy principle

  1. Part of the NSF motto is “Where Discoveries Begin.”

    It’s also apparently where they end!

    WUWT strikes again!

  2. I read the above post and started laughing I could only think of:

    BEDEVERE: What also floats in water?

    VILLAGER #1: Bread!

    VILLAGER #2: Apples!

    VILLAGER #3: Very small rocks!

    VILLAGER #1: Cider!

    VILLAGER #2: Uhhh, gravy!

    VILLAGER #1: Cherries!

    VILLAGER #2: Mud!

    VILLAGER #3: Churches — churches!

    VILLAGER #2: Lead — lead!

    ARTHUR: A duck.

    CROWD: Oooh.

    BEDEVERE: Exactly! So, logically…,

    VILLAGER #1: If… she.. weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood.

    BEDEVERE: And therefore–?

    VILLAGER #1: A witch!

    CROWD: A witch! A witch! A witch!

    BEDEVERE: We shall use my largest scales!

    [yelling]

    BEDEVERE: Right, remove the supports!

    [whop]

    [creak]

    CROWD: A witch! A witch!

    WITCH: It’s a fair cop.

    CROWD: Burn her! Burn her!

    [yelling]

    BEDEVERE: Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?

    ARTHUR: I am Arthur, King of the Britons.

  3. I got flailed on my guestbook page by one of those types of “don’t you get it???” people. I still don’t get it, I guess. How the NSF could let something like that stand, that is.

  4. As Ronald Reagan once said: “It isn’t what they know that is so bad it’s what they know that isn’t true.”

  5. Talking of buoyancy, as silly question for the day, with CO2’s molecular weight around 44 and the air’s 28 shouldn’t even well-mixed CO2 have a rather higher concentration near the ground? I mean, the concentration profile of CO2 according to height cannot be the same as the one for oxygen, can it?

  6. Archimedes died over two millennium ago.

    [NOTE: That's one millennium, two millennia. -REP, the incurably pedantic moderator]

  7. Interesting …

    JJThoms says:
    October 10, 2011 at 9:14 am

    http://www.physorg.com/news5619.html

    Melting of Floating Ice Will Raise Sea Level
    Physical experimentation
    Logic
    Say levels will rise
    WUWT say no rise
    who is correct????

    It says on one image caption that:
    Figure 1: A freshwater ice cube floats in a beaker of concentrated saltwater.

    What is the concentration ?

  8. Let’s go one step further. How does Ice that formed from seawater, ostensibly relenquishing its salt to the sea in the process, then melt, and dilute the water in any harmful way? Okay, it is months later, but where’s the worry when all that Salt is being added during winter?

  9. Since ice is ever slightly less dense than water, shouldn’t melting sea ice LOWER sea levels (slightly)? — because the volume of the ice will be replaced by a slightly denser fluid. I don’t think Archimedes buoyancy law fully describes what would happen in this scenario…

  10. You can see the effect with simple experiment that can be carried out at home, just pour a gin and tonic, add ice and watch……

  11. That phys.org link has a leader that mentions two distinct scenarios but then shows an experiment to address only one.Is there a ‘part two’ somewhere?

  12. @AdderW

    According to the PDF that JJThoms linked the density of the salt solution he used for the experiment was 1.197 g/ml. The density of surface sea water according to Wikipedia is 1.025 g/ml, so it looks like the experiment is off by about %10. For additional reference, according to Wikipedia, the Dead Sea as has a density of approximately 1.24 g/ml.

    I might be fun to try the same experiment with something similar to sea water.

  13. JJ Thomas, the setting up of experiments which “prove” that it’s worse than we thought, is part and parcel of a fraud being perpetrated.

    Sea water salinity in the lower end of the PSU scale is found in, guess where, the Arctic, so a “highly concentrated” saline solution doesn’t reflect the real world at all. Try the following URL for a peak at the real wold: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WOA05_sea-surf_SAL_AYool.png

  14. Now they can correct the idiotic premise that melting sea ice has a devastating impact on sea life. It melts every year without any noticeable impact at all.

  15. JJThoms says:
    October 10, 2011 at 9:14 am

    http://www.physorg.com/news5619.html

    Melting of Floating Ice Will Raise Sea Level
    Physical experimentation
    Logic
    Say levels will rise
    WUWT say no rise
    who is correct????
    ————————————————–
    CAGW logic. The article states that fresh water occupies 2% more then salt water does. I wonder how long do those guys think the water remains un-salted in the ocean? According to the salinity page is all mixed up between 30 and 38 (sea surface salinity)

  16. @ Frank says:
    October 10, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I love it when you guys are so adamant when you are wrong.

    The NSF statement was only wrong in stating that it was potentially significant (it is too small for that), but it is may be non-zero, and it isn’t as simple as Archimedes principle.

    See also Jenkins and Holland (2007):

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2007GL030784.shtml

    But carry on gloating.

    There, fixed it. (I read your link, maybe you should).

  17. JJThoms says:
    October 10, 2011 at 9:31 am

    So, unless I missed something, the experiment as described and pictorialy demonstrated in that paper showed that at that particular concentration of salt water such a large chunk of ice (large, that is, relative to the volume of salt water) will raise the water level to a certain, measurable degree. I find no flaw with that. It’s pretty straightforward. The problem is that it is in no way even close to representing the real world.

    My very brief idea of the way the experiment could be greatly improved upon:
    1. Take a volume of salt water that represents the water in the oceans and put it in a basin that (somehow) roughly relates to the size and shape of the ocean basins of the world (i.e. cliffs in some areas, marshes and bays in others).
    2. Add crushed ice that would be representative of the amount of sea ice (the “average” volume of sea ice over the last 30 years would be a good enough guesstimate in my opinion).
    3. Let the ice melt.
    4. Measure the difference in the level of water in the basin.

    Doing it the way I just described would at least show a more accurate representation of what would actually occur in the real world, though still not perfect. After all, the coastline is not a smooth, vertical glass wall and the varied nature of the coastal topography would allow for more or less encroachment on coastlines at specific locations, if that makes sense. To me, the experiment that was described and shown in that paper is not much better than the CO2 in a bottle experiment done by ManBearPig and Bill Nye, the PseudoScience Guy.

    My guess as to the results would be that although there would be some rise, it would be negligible (probably be less than 0.01% of the normal daily tidal changes).

  18. Only 6 1/2 years to figure out it’s insignificant……

    I have a hard time believing that the National Science Foundation didn’t know……….

  19. pat says:
    October 10, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Though I agree that they are way off the mark, it is also true that as it melts at one pole, it freezes at the other. Granted, that may occur at different rates and with different volumes, but whatever those rates are, I’m sure it is worse than we thought…

  20. JJThoms
    I suspect you are also missing the important point that sea ice is mostly frozen SEA! – granted, once frozen, some rainfall and snow will settle on it, but in terms of the initial freezing – it is frozen seawater AFAIK. Of course, glacier ice is formed on land and falls into the sea – so is part of the general hydrological cycle. ‘Sea Ice’ per se is largely frozen sea, so in that context archimedes principle still holds.

  21. Seems that floating ice above the surface of the water will have a different effect on the “shape” of earth’s oceans than the floating ice below the surface of the water. The ice above of the surface constitutes a 2nd story for our “house” of ocean water…when it melts, the 1st story must accomadate it by rising. The ice below the surface, once melted, will contract the 1st story because of the difference in densities. Right? Wrong?

  22. I thought Archimedes Principle said that when a body is totally or partially immersed in water, the telephone rings?

  23. @JJ,

    The paper assumes the ice is from freshwater and they’re using the wrong salinity percentage as wsbriggs alludes to.

    I couldn’t read it all because I was feeling dumber for having read as much as I did.

    Yes, there would be slight differences if the water wasn’t exactly the same. The 2.6% is an overestimate because of the reasons listed above. But, just for funnsies…… did you or can you translate how many feet of sea level rise the 2.6% differential would equate to?

    Given the recent claims the sea ice is thinner than it ever has been, and the surface of the current ice area is < 5 mill km2, while the earth's water surface is ~ 360 mill km2….. so that's about 1.4% of the surface area…do you think the 2.6% makes any difference? I haven't bothered to look at the estimates of the volume of ice they believe is out there now……. but, I think we'll be ok.

  24. I just had a huge realization. It is normally assumed that ice on land will contribute to sea level rise when it melts because it is being supported by the land and not floating. But then I just realized that the land is not itself resting on a solid object. Under the land is a sea of lava. Therefore, by Archimedes principle, when the ice melts, the land under it will float up in the lava sea and allow the level of the lava under the ocean bed to subside, thus lowering the sea bed and sea level. Actually, the ice melt may contribute about 50% of the sea level rise you would otherwise expect, because not only will the sea bed subside but the land of the continents that was not under ice will also subside, lessening the subsidence of the sea bed and lowering the tide gauges.

  25. There was some poor soul on another blog all worried about Maldives flooding and kids were preparing to be taken as refugees to other islands. She was genuinely concerned for these people.

    I did my best to help her by linking a close by “400 miles” monitoring site that showed the current rate of rise was equal to 6″ in about 100 years. The chart also showed that over the last year the sea level had actually dropped.

    Reminds me, I didn’t even get a thank you for doing the research. Maybe she wasn’t so concerned…

  26. Mindbuilder says:
    October 10, 2011 at 10:30 am

    essentially correct. it’s generally called isostatic rebound – but is usually pretty slow!

  27. Lars P says:
    October 10, 2011 at 10:07 am ….
    ups I got it wrong, shame on me.
    What they say is that ice displaces the volume of less water when water is salted. So 1 kg of frozen ice displaces the volume of 1 kg of seawater, which is 970 g water + 30 g salt which occupies the volume of how much sweet water?

  28. The actual rise is obviously insignificant.
    WUWT title plus text is simply non scientific:

    NSF just now figures out Archimedes’ buoyancy principle
    Just like Archimedes discovered millennia ago, it is well known today that the Arctic ice cap displaces it’s own weight in the water so that when it melts it will not cause a rise in global sea level.
    Surprisingly, the National Science Foundation has just figured this out (thanks to someone complaining about it) and has issued a correction to their sea ice page.

    Sea Ice (even created from the ocean) is much less salty than sea water. The density of sea water is greater than the ice. The ice will (according to archimedes) displace its own WEIGHT. The volume of sea water displaced will be less than the VOLUME of ice displacing it. QED

  29. FrankSW says:
    October 10, 2011 at 9:49 am
    You can see the effect with simple experiment that can be carried out at home, just pour a gin and tonic, add ice and watch……

    I have tried this experiment as stated and with other liquids. Beam, JD, Jameson, etc and I never am able to reach a conclusion as the liquid always vanishes prior to the ice fully melting. Any suggestions?

  30. @Mindbuilder
    I seem to recall reading somewhere that this is precisely what happened to land masses as glaciers retreated at the end of the last ice age. all those land based glaciers melting should have raised the sea levels but the land that had been weighed down by all that ice rose up due to being relieved of the weight. I don’t recall whether the net result was a loss or gain in the amount of dry land though.

  31. John says:
    October 10, 2011 at 10:26 am
    Seems that floating ice above the surface of the water will have a different effect on the “shape” of earth’s oceans than the floating ice below the surface of the water. The ice above of the surface constitutes a 2nd story for our “house” of ocean water…when it melts, the 1st story must accomadate it by rising. The ice below the surface, once melted, will contract the 1st story because of the difference in densities. Right? Wrong?

    Completely wrong.

    Remember the old rule about the iceberg with seven eighths below the surface? That’s because the ice in an iceberg is seven eighths the density of seawater. As it melts it reverts to the density of seawater so there is no effect. The entire reason ice floats is because water expands as it freezes because the water molecule crystal lattice that is called ice takes up more space than unfrozen mobile molecules. This expansion starts a few degrees before freezing as the clumps of crystal lattice start forming. This is why ice forms on top of a body of water.

  32. Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) says:
    October 10, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Talking of buoyancy, as silly question for the day, with CO2′s molecular weight around 44 and the air’s 28 shouldn’t even well-mixed CO2 have a rather higher concentration near the ground?

    Depends of the mixing speed where the sources and sinks are. Over the oceans, the mixing speed is larger than the speed at which the oceans release or absorb CO2, thus there is little difference between the equator and the poles over the oceans, neither from sealevel to about the stratosphere. Only huge changes like seasonal absorption and release by vegetation gives moderate differences between altitudes and latitudes. The largest differences are over land, where most point sources and fast sinks are situated. For semi-rural places, with little wind the CO2 levels increase at night and decrease during the day, when the sun starts the photosynthesis.
    Here an overview of af a few days of CO2 levels at four “baseline” stations from the NH (Barrow at sealevel, Mauna Loa at 3,400 m) and the SH (Samoa at sealevel and South Pole at 3,000 m) and Giessen (Germany, semi-rural):

    The differences between near ground over land and the “background” CO2 levels are decreasing with height and wind speed. Over 500 m over land, the air is at background CO2 level, as flight measurements show:

  33. Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) says:
    October 10, 2011 at 9:26 am
    “Talking of buoyancy, as silly question for the day, with CO2′s molecular weight around 44 and the air’s 28 shouldn’t even well-mixed CO2 have a rather higher concentration near the ground? I mean, the concentration profile of CO2 according to height cannot be the same as the one for oxygen, can it?”

    I have been asking this question, and similar questions about our empirical knowledge of CO2 concentrations, for years. The only answer you will get from the Warmista is that CO2 is well-mixed. They will not address any question about measurements, experiments, or anything similar. In other words, the answers you get are typical Warmista answers.

  34. Now if we can only get them to admit the seas have stopped rising,
    even according to their biased measurements.

  35. Aah, but the part of the ice that is sticking out of the water is farther away from the axis of the earth, and therefore subject to a greater centrifugal force, which counteracts the gravity! Therefore, the volume of water displaced by the ice IS less than the volume of the water it will turn into.
    At 500 km from the north pole, this effect amounts to a fractional volume increase due to thawing of approximately 0.000,000,000,000,04.

    Now, this number seems small. On the other hand, if we now use this number to calculate how much sea ice must already have melted in order to cause the sea level rise that did happen over the last decades – it turns out that it is definitely worse than we thought!

  36. JJThoms says:
    October 10, 2011 at 10:42 am
    “The actual rise is obviously insignificant.
    WUWT title plus text is simply non scientific:”
    “Sea Ice (even created from the ocean) is much less salty than sea water. The density of sea water is greater than the ice. The ice will (according to archimedes) displace its own WEIGHT. The volume of sea water displaced will be less than the VOLUME of ice displacing it. QED”

    So you’re saying the correction by the NSF is wrong? And they were right before?

  37. The experiment that he showed was meaningless as it is not relevant. In the Arctic the ice forms from the sea water. As it does it gives up salt into the sea. When it melts it remixes with the salt. A zero sum equation. If he had done this in his beaker you should see the level drop and then rise again as the ice melts.

  38. DirkH: No, the uncorrected NSF page is not right if the actual rise is insignificant, since it claims “significant effects for coastal cities and towns”.

  39. @Kev-in-Uk – Slow? Unless the lava of the lava sea is so viscous as to be nearly rigid, the rebound would be immediate. That stuff coming out of volcanoes is not anywhere near that viscous. The isostatic rebound might appear slow in the area close to the melt because of the fair rigidity of the crust over short distances, but at some distance away, the effect would be immediate.

    But I also realize now that the rise and fall of the lava sea would be proportionately less than the height of the ice melt due to the lava sea having a higher density than the ice and water. So, for example, if 4 meters of ice on top of Antarctica melted, and the lava sea is four times denser than the ice, then the lava sea under Antarctica would only rise 1 meter. The subsidence under the sea bed would also be proportionately less. Cut this in half again, accounting for the subsidence of the land of the continents with tide gauges not under the ice, and it doesn’t appear this effect will do much to save us from the sea level rise of melting land ice.

  40. FrankSW says:
    October 10, 2011 at 9:49 am
    You can see the effect with simple experiment that can be carried out at home, just pour a gin and tonic, add ice and watch……
    ———————
    Frank, I tried that and found as the ice melted the glass got emptier. Must mean something.

  41. The maximum density of water is about 4 degrees C. Cooling water at 4 degrees causes expansion but melting it and warming it to 4 degrees C actually causes contraction. I would suspect that is the more common in the arctic melt to go from zero to maybe 4 degrees than the other way around. I doubt it gets much warmer. The tiny correction that Frank suggests is probably that melting sea ice actually lowers sea level a tiny bit but that is just an educated guess.

  42. Mindbuilder says:
    October 10, 2011 at 11:22 am
    Yes – SLOW ! – just think of a super viscous liquid. an analogy might be glass which is a supercooled liquid and think of very old glass panes, they are thicker at the bottom than the top due to gradual ‘slumping’ downwards due to gravity over many years.
    Isostatic pressure downwards displaces the viscous mantle – which then has to work its way back. another analogy might be a jug of treacle. stick your finger in, then pull it out – the depression your finger made takes some time to fill back up – it is not instantaneous. same principle – just much much much slower!

  43. Much has been made of the reduction in multi-year ice in the Arctic. The ice that is present at any one time is a snap-shot of the hydrological cycle. Averaged out over a few years the salinity will be effectively constant and therefore Archimedes rules.

  44. “I always wondered why I’d get the occasional angry email claiming melting Arctic sea ice would raise sea levels dramatically and “why don’t you get it?””

    Exactly why dont you get it? This is/was the consensus view of the NSF and peer reviewed by many top scientists.

    Dr Roy Spencer “oh, and if you read his new paper, he seems to have a typo early in the paper…he claims we do NOT believe cloud radiative forcing causes temperature change. Of course, the opposite is the case. I have no idea how such a statement could have made it through 2 peer reviews.”

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/10/ive-looked-at-clouds-from-both-sides-now-and-before/

    It aint a typo – its a fact if its been peer reviewed.

  45. Hmm, this could be a bit embarrassing for the Team. I’ve taken the liberty of drafting a quick statement that they could use should they get any press inquiries:

    “Archimedes is not a peer-reviewed climate scientists and therefore is unqualified on this subject. Once again, the press is reminded that not all opinions should be given equal weight. There is consensus in the peer reviewed literature that the unprecedented melting of floating ice will lead to the death of 342,786,934.3 people by June 6th, 2027. These manufactured ‘controversies’ like we see from WUWT and other denialist screeds are the result of deliberate distortions by Big Tobacco and Big Oil who seek to distract attention from the fact that variations in surface temperature have been shown to be entirely caused by humans”

  46. This is, of course, for floating sea ice. What about sea ice that is bottomed out and resting upon the ocean floor? Seems like it could add to sea level if melted. Does anyone know how much sea ice is in shallow enough situations to do this? Cannot float if the water is too shallow for the ice to displace its own weight. Of course it’s getting colder, not warmer, so why worry?

  47. NSF = non-sufficient facts.
    I always thought that sea ice is formed by sea-water freezing below and snow compression above. So the sea ice will have already have some salt content.
    Further, doesn’t most of the Arctic sea ice melt every year anyway, from a peak of 15 million km^2 to under 5 million km^2? Why doesn’t sea level rise every summer? Or is NSF talking about some other Arctic sea ice?
    Me thinks they got caught crying wolf.

  48. @JJThoms says:
    “Sea Ice (even created from the ocean) is much less salty than sea water. The density of sea water is greater than the ice. The ice will (according to archimedes) displace its own WEIGHT. The volume of sea water displaced will be less than the VOLUME of ice displacing it. QED”

    JJ Thoms you have figured out that the “The volume of sea water displaced will be less than the VOLUME of ice displacing it.” ???

    You maybe weak in English but it seems in logic also. If ice displaces a certain volume of water, that is the volume of water it displaces.

  49. Scientists that can do science do do science. Those that can’t do science teach science and those that can’t teach science become NSF (NCSE, NAS, AAAS, NSTA, IPCC, etc) staff.

  50. BravoZulu says:
    October 10, 2011 at 11:27 am

    “The maximum density of water is about 4 degrees C.”

    That’s correct but the maximum density of SEAwater is -2C. Unlike fresh water, salt water keeps getting denser right up to the point it freezes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Properties_of_water#Density_of_water_and_ice

    he density of water is dependent on the dissolved salt content as well as the temperature of the water. Ice still floats in the oceans, otherwise they would freeze from the bottom up. However, the salt content of oceans lowers the freezing point by about 2 °C (see following paragraph for explanation) and lowers the temperature of the density maximum of water to the freezing point. This is why, in ocean water, the downward convection of colder water is not blocked by an expansion of water as it becomes colder near the freezing point.

    Don’t feel bad, it’s a VERY common mistake and one I have to correct in these pages fairly often.

  51. Ian W says:
    October 10, 2011 at 10:52 am

    “This expansion starts a few degrees before freezing as the clumps of crystal lattice start forming.”

    Not in seawater. The salt content reduces the freezing temperature by about 2C and also causes the density to keep on increasing right up to the freezing point. It’s amazing how many people don’t know about the strange maximum density point of fresh water but don’t know the less surprising fact that seawater behaves in the intiutive way,

  52. oops that should be “amazing how many people DO know about the strange maximum density point of fresh water” in my previous missive

  53. If all the Arctic sea ice (27,800 km^3 from PIOMAS) melted and there was a 2.6% difference between the salty sea and the fresh water sea ice the world’s oceans would rise by 2 mm. Interestingly, annual sea level should rise by about 1.2 mm anyway so the difference would be another 0.8 mm.

  54. Chuck Nolan says:
    October 10, 2011 at 11:23 am

    FrankSW says:
    October 10, 2011 at 9:49 am
    To be a truly scientific experiment you need to use a second control glass of ice/whiskey that is not randomly taste tested to evaluate the process of the dilution/evaporation of the alcohol. (refilling the tasted non control glass as needed to double check the mixing potential of the solution is sometimes required.)

  55. This article on sea ice by the NSF is hopelessly out of date and poorly written.

    It not just confuses sea ice with ice sheets (even after the correction on sea level) but it fails to mention a tremendous amount of new information obtaines and developments that happened since the early 2000’s when this piece was written.

    A complete re-write of this article would be appropriate.

  56. Some have claimed that there is a finite rise in sea level when sea ice melts.

    I can only assume that there is a finite but equal drop in sea level when it freezes.

    Or does my logic fail me?

  57. Annual sea level should also fall by 1.2 mm over the winter due to Arctic sea ice increasing. The NSF should have written:

    “In addition to altering salinity, melting sea ice also raises worldwide sea levels by up to 2 mm, with potentially significant effects for coastal cities and towns.”

    That would have quantified their alarmism.

  58. You can always find the nigglers who can point to a physics experiment that says the sealevel goes up. But lets do the experiment properly and see what we get: take seawater in a beaker and measure, freeze a layer on the surface and measure, finally thaw it out again and measure. If you get rising levels this way, we can solve th world’s water problems.

  59. mkelly says:
    October 10, 2011 at 10:43 am

    FrankSW says:
    October 10, 2011 at 9:49 am
    You can see the effect with simple experiment that can be carried out at home, just pour a gin and tonic, add ice and watch……

    I have tried this experiment as stated and with other liquids. Beam, JD, Jameson, etc and I never am able to reach a conclusion as the liquid always vanishes prior to the ice fully melting. Any suggestions?

    I have a suggestion. Piss on the ice cubes to fill the glass. Presumably that won’t disappear before the ice melts in the manner of the others.

  60. This is shocking for a “Science” site. Its primary level science. Obviously none of these guys had a look at their scotch on the rocks before and after (as long as ice was floating from the start of the drink) LOL

  61. Dave Springer says:
    October 10, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Scientists that can do science do do science. Those that can’t do science teach science and those that can’t teach science become NSF (NCSE, NAS, AAAS, NSTA, IPCC, etc) staff.

    …the rest just try to bamboozle people in internet forums (LOL)

  62. [NOTE: That's one millennium, two millennia. -REP, the incurably pedantic moderator]

    Actually two millenniums is also acceptable. There’s no requirement in English to use Latin plurals and for some words, like insurance premiums, the Latin plural premia is quite uncommon although technically acceptable if you don’t mind readers viewing it askance.

  63. @ JJThoms,
    Thanks for that reference.
    I am now completely persuaded on that issue.
    To the WUWT poster who alluded to ‘a troll’, I must demur. The point of the blog is interesting commentary on puzzling things- JJThoms comment certainly qualifies.

  64. Just a nit to pick here, but I did follow that link to the 10 things about science I should know. Unless I’m much mistaken, they are trying to tell people that the theory of relativity is actually a law.

  65. @Kev-in-Uk – I don’t think the lava ocean is very viscous. It doesn’t look very viscous at all when it comes out of volcanoes. It is so hot it’s hard to see how it could be viscous down there. Possibly the pressure could increase the viscosity, but I doubt it would that much.

    Of course the crust has significant rigidity. So when you melt a glacier you don’t see the land underneath immediately spring up. But that doesn’t mean the large semi-rigid “crust boat” on which the glacier is resting, doesn’t quickly float up some amount that is small because it is spread out over the large area of the “crust boat”

  66. ola tedin says:
    October 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    It’s obvious the warmist never take their drinks on the rocks

    From their results I would guess their preference would be, a can of beer just far enough below freezing so it turns to slush when opened, and the out gassing CO2 causes the resultant foam trapped in the slush to spill out over the top of the can, before they can get started on swilling it down.

  67. Mindbuilder says:
    October 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I don’t have time to do some link building for you. As a geologist, take it from me that the earths crust does not sit on a lava ocean that you seem to imagine. Mantle is highly viscous, pressurized material – when we see it at the surface (volcanoes) it has depressurized and all the volatiles, water, etc make it more fluid. Again, an easy analogy would be a bottle of fizzy drink (complete with dreaded CO2). shake it and what happens when you open the top? how viscous is the bubbly foam compared to the liquid in the bottle? (in geological terms, pumice stone would be a good example of foamed lava). As a slight aside, molten magma erupts through only weak spots in the crust, these are probably based over massive magma ‘plumes’ in the mantle material. either side of the plumes, the rock is not in such a molten state as the rock is of different composition. Those lava lamps are a good analogy – the blobs of the lava dont mix with the surrounding fluid, but rise up as they are heated at the bottom and their density changes..

  68. You can tell that the ice in the beaker is not floating, but is resting on the bottom, because it is leaning to one side in the photo. It is leaning against the left side of the beaker, but you can see that the part below the waterline is to the right side of the beaker. If the ice were floating, then the part above the waterline would be centered above the part below the waterline.

  69. GOSAT shows CO2 fluctuating between 360ppm and 390ppm.

    Strangely enough, Mauna Loa is relatively stable compared to the rest of the worls.

  70. Many of the commentators here seem to have forgotten that one of the most important aspects of science is replication of results. So after you’ve observed what happens to the ice in your glass of gin/scotch/JB, dispose of the contents and repeat the experiment.

    After 5 or 6 replicates you should have an answer. It may not be to the question you started with, but you’ll have answer about something, or even everything!

  71. @Kev-in-Uk says:

    Yes – SLOW ! – just think of a super viscous liquid. an analogy might be glass which is a supercooled liquid and think of very old glass panes, they are thicker at the bottom than the top due to gradual ‘slumping’ downwards due to gravity over many years.

    The idea that glass is a liquid which flows very slowly is false. It is a solid. Old glass panels are sometimes thicker at the bottom (and elsewhere) because of imperfections during manufacture.

  72. To anyone inclined to do the the experiment yourself, I encourage you to seal your beaker with plastic wrap on the top while you wait for the ice to melt. Otherwise, your experimental result may be distorted by condensation/evaporation.

  73. Theo Goodwin says:
    October 10, 2011 at 10:55 am
    Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) says:
    October 10, 2011 at 9:26 am
    “Talking of buoyancy, as silly question for the day, with CO2′s molecular weight around 44 and the air’s 28 shouldn’t even well-mixed CO2 have a rather higher concentration near the ground? I mean, the concentration profile of CO2 according to height cannot be the same as the one for oxygen, can it?”

    The settling out speed of CO2 in our atmosphere is too slow for the speeds with which the atmosphere circulates/moves/overturns. Ordinary thermals are enough to lift heavier than air objects high up into the atmosphere. I was once a couple of thousand feet up over High Wycombe when a paper bag went past on it’s way up, and the air had a dusty taste to it. There was a study carried out from a balloon a while back, to see what was carried aloft. Dust, pollen, small spiders were some of the things found, all of which are denser than CO2. There is just too much atmospheric movement for any settling to be noticeable. Even ‘settled’ weather, as in high pressures tend to have higher concentrations of pollutants higher up.

  74. Frank says:
    October 10, 2011 at 9:56 am

    The NSF statement was only wrong in stating that it was potentially significant (it is too small for that), but it is non-zero…

    Yes, Frank, you’re right. The NSF was trying to get us all alarmed over an imperceptibly insignificant rise in the wavelets between our toes down at the beach.

    So, I guess the website was right the first time. Better retract the correction.

  75. So since a significant portion of arctic sea-ice melts and re-forms each year, is there a matching seasonal component to sea-levels? That would seem to be the real experiment for if melting sea-ice had a significant affect on sea-levels.

    Though, I do approve of the gin & tonic experiments.

  76. 1. Take a volume of salt water that represents the water in the oceans and put it in a basin that (somehow) roughly relates to the size and shape of the ocean basins of the world (i.e. cliffs in some areas, marshes and bays in others).
    2. Add crushed ice that would be representative of the amount of sea ice (the “average” volume of sea ice over the last 30 years would be a good enough guesstimate in my opinion).
    3. Let the ice melt.
    4. Measure the difference in the level of water in the basin.

    It’s like throwing the ice from a cooler chest into Disney World’s “World Showcase Lagoon” and expecting to flood out the Morocco pavilion. Even ramping up the amount of ice won’t make a difference until the volume of the ice approaches a significant fraction of the volume of the body of water. The floating ice caps just aren’t that much water, compared to the oceans.

  77. daveburton says:
    October 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm
    JJThoms says:
    ———————————————————
    In a paper titled “The Melting of Floating Ice will Raise the Ocean Level” submitted to Geophysical Journal International, Noerdlinger demonstrates that melt water from sea ice and floating ice shelves could add 2.6% more water to the ocean than the water displaced by the ice, or the equivalent of approximately 4 centimeters (1.57 inches) of sea-level rise.
    ———————————————————
    Noerdlinger calculates 4 cm. That seems rather high.
    1. Earth’s surface is 4*pi*R^2 where R=radius=6,378 km
    2. Surface of Earth is 5.11E+08 sq km.
    3. Volume of Arctic sea ice from PIOMAS is 2.87E+04 cu km.
    4. Surface area of oceans is about 70% earth or 3.58E+08 sq km.
    5. If ice melted evenly over earth’s surface (2.87E+04/3.58E+08) = 8.02E-05 km
    6. Converted to meters = 8.02E-02 m.
    7. Converted to millimeters = 80.2 mm.
    8. If only 2.6% displacement occurs (fresh versus salt) then 80 x 0.026 = 2.09 mm.

    But this is only true if all the Arctic sea ice melts. The volume peaks at 28,700 cu km in the winter and reaches a minimum of 12,300 cu km. So (28,700-12,300)/28,700 is “normal” melting or 1.20 mm of melting occurs every year on an annual basis. If all the remaining sea ice melted the additional sea level rise should be (12,300/28,700)*2.09 or 0.90 mm of additional melting.

    I’m not sure where Noerdlinger gets 4 cm. Is my math above wrong? Or is my PIOMAS volume estimate wrong? Even 4 cm isn’t very alarming, but then I didn’t just purchase water front property.

  78. Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) says:
    October 10, 2011 at 9:26 am
    Talking of buoyancy, as silly question for the day, with CO2′s molecular weight around 44 and the air’s 28 shouldn’t even well-mixed CO2 have a rather higher concentration near the ground? I mean, the concentration profile of CO2 according to height cannot be the same as the one for oxygen, can it?

    No more than you worry that the air in your SCUBA tank will segregate over time. After all, N2 has a MW of 28 vs 32 for O2.

    Molecules in a gas are so energetic that they stay mixed in any container. The BULK properties of CO2 might lead to suffocation events such as are seen when certain lakes suffer an overturning event, but the gas dissipates and mixes with the surrounding atmosphere rather quickly. Say you took a pipe 1000 ft in length and raised it up right. Pressurize the pipe with N2. Introduce a measured volume of O2 or CO2 at the bottom of the pipe. The trace gas will immediately begin to diffuse through the bulk gas. Over time, you will note that your O2 or CO2 sensors, placed along the pipe at say100 ft intervals, will show increasing concentrations of the trace gas at each height as a function of time. Eventually, the concentration will be uniform in the pipe.

  79. aurizio Morabito (omnologos) says:
    October 10, 2011 at 9:26 am
    “Talking of buoyancy, as silly question for the day, with CO2′s molecular weight around 44 and the air’s 28 shouldn’t even well-mixed CO2 have a rather higher concentration near the ground? I mean, the concentration profile of CO2 according to height cannot be the same as the one for oxygen, can it?”
    ____________________
    Theo Goodwin says:
    October 10, 2011 at 10:55 am
    I have been asking this question, and similar questions about our empirical knowledge of CO2 concentrations, for years. The only answer you will get from the Warmista is that CO2 is well-mixed. They will not address any question about measurements, experiments, or anything similar. In other words, the answers you get are typical Warmista answers.
    ____________________
    If you want a different “take” on the answer that is not CAGW try:

    http://www.co2web.info/

    Specifically the pdfs:

    http://www.co2web.info/ESEF3VO2.pdf

    Chemical Laws for Distribution of CO2 in Nature: http://www.co2web.info/esef4.htm This is the short version.

    Longer version: http://www.co2web.info/ESEFVO1.pdf

  80. Gary Pearse says:

    October 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    You can always find the nigglers who can point to a physics experiment that says the sealevel goes up. But lets do the experiment properly and see what we get: take seawater in a beaker and measure, freeze a layer on the surface and measure, finally thaw it out again and measure. If you get rising levels this way, we can solve th world’s water problems.

    You mean sea ice wasn’t plunked in by someone like the whiskey drinkers on here?

  81. @JJThoms says:
    “Sea Ice (even created from the ocean) is much less salty than sea water. The density of sea water is greater than the ice. The ice will (according to archimedes) displace its own WEIGHT. The volume of sea water displaced will be less than the VOLUME of ice displacing it. QED”

    JJThoms please admit that you have made an embarrassingly stupid blooper. How can the volume of ANYTHING being displaced be less than the volume of the thing displacing it?

    That’s NOT what Noerdlinger has claimed. He is saying that the volume of fresh water is greater than that of salt water. Thus the volume of fresh water will be greater than the volume of salt water AFTER it has melted and displaced the sea water. “it does not displace the same volume as the MELTWATER”.

    Noerdlinger claims that this will cause a 2.6% increase in the volume of seawater.

    But

    1. He assumes the density of frozen sea water is 1 – it is not.
    2. When sea water freezes it occludes salt some of which gets trapped in the ice the rest gets dissolved in the surrounding sea water
    3. Melting sea ice does not melt in one go. And as it melts it dissolves sea salt and becomes saltier and denser.

    So I dont think his treatise is accurate. The difference would be far less.

  82. I worked with Noerdlinger a bit on his paper (though not in co-author capacity). The effect is real and can be demonstrated in lab conditions, but is not really observable in the real world because the effect is smaller than the accuracy of the instruments. The effect does happen due to sea ice, but as people point out, sea ice freezes and regrows seasonally, so only changes in the multiyear ice cover really matter. Also, there is some salt in ice, but small enough compared to the ocean to have almost a negligible effect. Seawater is ~30 parts per thousand (ppt) of salt, while sea ice is ~3 ppt, though higher for first-year ice. The largest effect though is from melting ice shelves – the floating tongues of ice coming off of glaciers and ice sheets. These have significant more mass than sea ice – though they cover less area, they’re 2 orders of magnitude thicker. Of the 4 cm effect on global mean sea level, almost all of that would come from the ice shelves. Only about 4 mm would come from the loss of sea ice. Overall a pretty small, perhaps trivial amount, compared to the projected sea level rise from thermal expansion and melting of land ice, but nonetheless an interesting result I think.

    Walt Meier
    NSIDC

  83. D. J. Hawkins says:
    October 10, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    “Molecules in a gas are so energetic that they stay mixed in any container. The BULK properties of CO2 might lead to suffocation events such as are seen when certain lakes suffer an overturning event, but the gas dissipates and mixes with the surrounding atmosphere rather quickly…”

    OK, so I was wrong about any kind of ‘settling’ out of gases of different densities. However, if the temperature was lowered sufficiently wouldn’t you get some sort of settling?

  84. PS in my opinion his experiment was wrong. He calculated the difference in density when he introduced ice into the salt water. Actually the sea ice is formed FROM the salt water. So what he should have done is freeze salt water of density ~1.026 in a beaker and then use that ice in the SAME beaker with the SAME water he started off with.

  85. Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) says:October 10, 2011 at 9:26 am
    “Talking of buoyancy, as silly question for the day, with CO2′s molecular weight around 44 and the air’s 28 shouldn’t even well-mixed CO2 have a rather higher concentration near the ground? I mean, the concentration profile of CO2 according to height cannot be the same as the one for oxygen, can it?”
    ————————————————————————-
    I once worked in a lab that tested breathing apparatus for the US Navy. We had some helium/oxygen high pressure bottles that had been sitting in the lab for years. Since the density ratio of helium and oxygen is greater than nitrogen and CO2, you would expect to see separation effects sooner. When we carefully tapped the years-old bottles, we found no evidence of segregation. The normal thermal motion kept the gasses mixed.

  86. Does everything have to be explained to you deniers? Archimedes is WAY out dated! This does not apply to the rotten sea ice we have today. Rotten sea ice is full of holes and as it melts, it leaks 10x as much water out of the holes as regular ice, therefore causing massive sea level rise reaching to the top of Mount Everest.

  87. Millions of square kilometres of arctic and antarctic sea ice melts and freezes every year and the sea level does what?

  88. Dave springer talked about sea water getting more dense until it get to -2 degrees C. If that were true the water should sink at -2 degrees. I believe it sinks because, like it says, it is also related to density which increases as the salt is removed when frozen freshwater is formed on the surface. Sea ice loses its salt during its process of formation from sea water.” We are talking about fresh water melting. It becomes more dense after it melts by lowering the density of the saltier water so I assumed that was cancelled out. I don’t actually care about density caused by increased saltiness, just changes in temperature. It sounds to me like the reason the max density is lowered to the freezing point is because of the loss of fresh water that froze or increased saltiness. If the density is caused by salt, that shouldn’t change volume if the salt quantity doesn’t change in the two sources that are mixed. I could be wrong there. I am not sure that actually changes what I said earlier.

  89. Stephen Skinner says:
    October 10, 2011 at 2:48 pm
    D. J. Hawkins says:
    October 10, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    “Molecules in a gas are so energetic that they stay mixed in any container. The BULK properties of CO2 might lead to suffocation events such as are seen when certain lakes suffer an overturning event, but the gas dissipates and mixes with the surrounding atmosphere rather quickly…”

    OK, so I was wrong about any kind of ‘settling’ out of gases of different densities. However, if the temperature was lowered sufficiently wouldn’t you get some sort of settling?

    Well, yes. But now you’re talking about cryogenic distallation, creating LOX and LN with trace gases left over. I believe that pressure swing absorption (PSA) is used to remove moisture and CO2 long before it gets really chilly.

  90. DavidS says:
    October 10, 2011 at 3:23 pm
    Millions of square kilometres of arctic and antarctic sea ice melts and freezes every year and the sea level does what?

    Well, in my place the sealevel goes up and down by 5 meters, twice a day. Must be a lot of melting and freezing somewhere …

  91. waltmeier says:
    October 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Thanks, Walt, for the additional information and details.

    “Of the 4 cm effect on global mean sea level, almost all of that would come from the ice shelves.”

    So I take if if all of the sea ice and all of the ice shelves in the world melted that would be equivalent to about a couple of years of historical sea level rise (before the recent reduction in the rise)? Certainly interesting, and good to know what the numbers are. It is helpful to know that there isn’t anything particularly concerning in the amount of sea level rise that would result from that melting.

    In any event, the NSF page that contained the statement about “significant effects for coastal cities” is talking all about sea ice, I believe. So it was right of them to delete the incorrect statement.

  92. Richard says:
    October 10, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    @JJThoms says:
    “Sea Ice (even created from the ocean) is much less salty than sea water. The density of sea water is greater than the ice. The ice will (according to archimedes) displace its own WEIGHT. The volume of sea water displaced will be less than the VOLUME of ice displacing it. QED”

    JJThoms please admit that you have made an embarrassingly stupid blooper. How can the volume of ANYTHING being displaced be less than the volume of the thing displacing it?
    ———————————–
    We call that floating. The density of the seawater being displaced is higher than the density of the sea ice so a weight of seawater equivalent to the weight of the sea ice is displaced without the entire volume of the ice submerged. The “extra” ice volume sticks up in the air, but as the ice is much denser than the air it displaces it sinks down to the level of the water. I suppose you could quibble over his usage of displacement, but I think it’s pretty clear what he meant.

  93. Why has no one, even the so called scientists that wrote that 28 page worthless analysis, mentioned that the OLD ice packs have a greater density due to compression over time? Where is all of this factored into their 28 page mumbojumbo. I am also under the impression that even snow has impurities (the dust that each flake starts from, etc.) and I don’t see that data in the multi-page worthless analysis.

  94. JJThomas:

    Sea Ice (even created from the ocean) is much less salty than sea water. The density of sea water is greater than the ice. The ice will (according to archimedes) displace its own WEIGHT. The volume of sea water displaced will be less than the VOLUME of ice displacing it. QED

    I’ve bold-faced this part of your argument. It appears you believe the statement that the sea level rises is independent of a consideration of the differences in their salinity.

    As I’ve said many times, the beautiful thing about words is you can get them to mean almost anything you want.

    Equations aren’t so mutable.

    Let’s choose a simple model: ice floating in a glass of water (assume cylindrical volumes, that is the cross-sectional areal of the glass is constant with change in height): Here are the parameters:

    rho0 = density of water
    A0 = cross-sectional area of glass
    h0 = height of water without ice.

    rho1 = density of the ice
    A1 = cross-sectional area of the ice
    h1 = height of the ice

    Assignment:

    1) Compute the change h2 in height of the water when you float the ice cube in the water.
    2) Compute the change h2′ in height of water when the ice cube melts.

    and most importantly,

    3) try and figure out why (assuming you did your math right) h2′ = h2.

    A change in height is not a generic result, as your argument seemed to suggest.

    As Walt points out it’s interesting when you include salinity, you do get an effect, but it’s basically microscopic compared to other climatic effects associated with the melted ice. I would suppose the effect the melted ice on global albedo would be much more dramatic and measurable than this effect, which the NSF wisely removed from their discussion as it was, at the best, highly misleading.

  95. Tsk Tsk has pointed out why a boat works! A concrete boat will float and carry a person, even more. A cargo ship can carry massive amounts of cargo. The displacement of water (fresh or salt) is always equal to the total weight of the ship. Look at the new cruise ships that rise more than 75 ft above the water line! They are this high because they have low density but they still displace only their total weight. And as I mentioned earlier, the ice at the Artic/Antartic is not PURE and is not made from water with a SPG of 1.000000000. Their report needs to include all data, not just the data that proves their point.

  96. JJ Thoms……. The experiment on that site is a failure…… It doesn’t emulate the real world….The guy doing this experiment by having a beaker of salt water and then introducing a lump of freshwater ice….is doing it wrong. The arctic winter doesn’t pluck ice from the beer fridge and plonk it in the arctic ocean…. It froze the water already there….

    Do the experiment this way instead….Take a bowl of sea water. Put it in the freezer and freeze the top inch of water, making sure the ice doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl….. There will be no change in the level of the water…. The salinity will go up. But when you melt the ice again… The salinity will fall to it’s original level…… Repeat it as many times as you want….. Every winter if you wish….. The water level won’t change. The ice displaces its own weight in water, no matter what salt content of the water. It’s an immutable fact.

    So… When talking “floating sea ice”…. it is important to communicate that one is talking about sea ice that formed FROM THE SEAWATER….If not. You are comparing apples to icecubes.

  97. On top of all the other complications, the elephant in the room that most people seem to miss is that, at the same time that Northern hemisphere sea ice is decreasing, Southern hemisphere sea ice is increasing. The net effect of this and the extremely small effects detailed by a number of commenters here mean that the overall effect on sea level must be too small even to be measurable.

  98. If all of the sea ice melts, none of it evaporates, and the melted sea ice remains at -2C, the rise would be 1mm above average levels and 2mm above minimum levels.
    However, the sea ice would cool the seawater, as ice cools a drink, and some of the sea ice would sublimate or evaporate during the melting process, so the total rise would be less than the 1-2mm calculated.

  99. Dave Springer;
    I have a suggestion. Piss on the ice cubes to fill the glass. Presumably that won’t disappear before the ice melts in the manner of the others>>>

    Are you speaking from experience?

  100. Carrick says:
    October 10, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Hi Carrick it seems you do know basic science after all :) . Sorry about that. :)

    The “experiment” in my opinion leaves much to be desired. The ice for example visually seems to be about 50% of the total volume of ice and water in the beaker. Compare that with arctic sea ice which is typically 2 m thick in an average ocean depth of 1038 m. If we take that not all of the Arctic is frozen it accounts for probably around 0.1% of the volume of the water. Then as the ice melts it redissolves the salt to become more dense, nullifying the effects of its expansion.

    Anyway I wrote to Dr Noerdlinger and he has very kindly and promptly replied, which I reproduce below:

    Dear Dr Noerdlinger,

    I read your paper on the above subject.

    I have the following questions/ comments:

    1. Floating Sea Ice is formed from salty sea water, so would not the salt originally included in the water be either retained in the ice as inclusions or as a dilute solution and the remainder be dissolved in the surrounding sea water?

    2. Would not these inclusions and slight solution would make the relative density of sea ice greater than 1, thus reducing the theoretical volume of the melt?

    3. When the ice melts it would it not redissolve some of the ice it has in inclusions and also some of the extra salt dissolved in the surrounding sea water it had originally expelled? If this be so would this not increase its density and reduce its volume?

    4. Would not the effect of all this greatly reduce the volume increase from 2.6%

    For the reasons above would not the experiment you performed be faulty?

    1. The volume of ice that you used to the water in the beaker was vastly greater than the ratio of volume of actual sea ice to the volume of actual sea water.

    2. You introduced fresh ice into the salt water in the beaker, whereas sea ice is frozen FROM the salty sea water. Thus should you not have frozen the ice from the salt water in the beaker and then used that ice in the same water of the beaker?

    3. If you had experimented in that way would not the difference in the water levels have been negligible?

    Have I made any errors in my questions / comments? I would be most grateful if you could give me your comments on this?

    Thanking you

    Richard ——
    —————————————————————————————————-
    Dear Richard ——,

    Thank you for your interest and your questions.

    When sea water freezes there is “brine expulsion” which is supposed to make the floating ice almost pure water.

    I do, however, see a recent thesis saying this is not so:

    http://www.mpimet.mpg.de/fileadmin/staff/notzdirk/Notz_PhD_abstract.pdf

    Well, it has been considered settled science – supposedly measured – so I don’t know for sure after that thesis. Notz has another publication at
    oceans11.lanl.gov/trac/CICE/raw-attachment/wiki/…/5Griewank.pdf
    which
    says it happens for “thin ice”

    There has been other criticism, mainly that the melting cools the surrounding water and that this reduces the volume almost as much as Brower and I found was added.

    See Jenkins and Holland (attached)

    There is a chap, Robert Grumbine who was at NOAA in Maryland who was helpful:

    Mr. Robert W. Grumbine
    …..
    Perhaps you could contact him.

    Let me know if this reply is insufficient.
    Peter
    ——————————————————————————
    Dear Peter,

    Thank you very much for your reply. This is more than sufficient for me.

    I do get the feeling, that the melting of floating sea ice would make a neglible difference to sea levels.

    Kind regards

    Richard

  101. FrankSW says:
    October 10, 2011 at 9:49 am
    You can see the effect with simple experiment that can be carried out at home, just pour a gin and tonic, add ice and watch……
    _____________________
    Version 1: My experiment keeps failing… I run out of gin before the ice melts.!!!
    Version 2: …and watch the gin disappear.

  102. ChE [October 10, 2011 at 9:31 am] says:

    “JJThoms – that’s land ice. Melting land ice does raise sea level. Melting sea ice doesn’t.”

    Only true if it runs off into the seas. This is the 800 lb. gorilla in the room, not these hair splitting microscopic differences in sea-ice salinity and displacement.

    Almost all alarmism from the AGW cultists proceed from the supposition that all melted ice winds up in the sea. This is an error that absolutely dwarfs the one in the original NSF statement, and is prominent in AGW groupthink. There are five Great Lakes here in the USA that illustrate the folly of static ice-melt and sea-level calculations.

    For example, this is almost always the basis of Greenland discussions, extremely sloppy ‘science’ concerning melt with no parallel calculation of water that would remain landbound in freshwater lakes. They seem to assume the island is convex, as opposed to a concave container.

    A good rule of thumb is simply to believe nothing that AGW scientologists say about ice and sea-level.

  103. “Steve from Rockwood says:
    October 10, 2011 at 2:09 pm
    3. Volume of Arctic sea ice from PIOMAS is 2.87E+04 cu km.
    8. If only 2.6% displacement occurs (fresh versus salt) then 80 x 0.026 = 2.09 mm.”

    You seemed to have used only Arctic ice, but Noerdlinger says:
    Our total estimate for floating ice in terms of displacement is then 660,000 km3.
    So it seems as if he uses total earth floating ice which is 23 times more than your Arctic ice so he gets a number 23 times larger. But is his number correct?

  104. I have tried that gin, tonic, and ice experiment a number of times. I have NEVER seen the ice melt! It doesn’t work that way, at least for me.

  105. This thread now resembles a French farce, improbable persons with suspect “explanations” jumping out of unexpected wardrobes… Good while it lasted. Time for my own melting ice cubes in a fine crystal beaker experiment and I won’t divulge the results in the face of any FOI sheet. Or the algorithms.

  106. In light of the 6.5 years of sleepwalking at the NSF with respect to the sea ice, sea level non-relationship, I can see that it’s time to float the Larry Hypothesis:
    Belief in AGW dramatically accelerates the progression of Alzheimers disease.

  107. The logic of the experiment that finds an increase in water level escapes me.

    Let’s try an experiment with seawater in a container. Fill container half full and seal, (with pinhole for air escape). Place in freezer and cycle to part frozen then to thaw. Find by observation the cycles it takes to fill the container. This is called a “making water” experiment. ;-)

  108. Well, I’m very disappointed. We have discussed this at WUWT twice before. Has everyone forgotten so soon?

    The answer is, yes, if the sea ice has almost no salt in it (as we are told it doesn’t) then the sea level will in theory rise a few milimetres if all the Arctic ice melts. Which rise of course is negligible. Then it will freeze again next winter and the sea level will drop a few mm.

    I even bothered to do the expriment, because it’s easy enough. Why do we talk about theory when we can test that theory? The theory is borne out.
    Here is my experiment:

    How can scientists get such basic physics wrong?

  109. jaymam says:
    October 11, 2011 at 12:32 am ,
    “How can scientists get such basic physics wrong?”
    What about the salt content of the ice that was lost as it was frozen? If it wasn’t salt water that was frozen, then the experiment is meaningless.

  110. Thanks for the answers about CO2’s “buoyancy”. I cannot look at all the links right now. However…if say we have O2 and CO2 molecules with the same average kinetic energy, since CO2 has more mass it would have a lower average speed,making therefore the CO2 molecules more likely to stay near the ground (the effect should be vastly enhanced where the atmosphere is thin enough to let molecules fly unimpeded for longer times).

    What am I doing wrong? (question)

  111. Dave Springer says:
    October 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm
    mkelly says:
    October 10, 2011 at 10:43 am

    FrankSW says:
    October 10, 2011 at 9:49 am
    You can see the effect with simple experiment that can be carried out at home, just pour a gin and tonic, add ice and watch……

    I have tried this experiment as stated and with other liquids. Beam, JD, Jameson, etc and I never am able to reach a conclusion as the liquid always vanishes prior to the ice fully melting. Any suggestions?

    I have a suggestion. Piss on the ice cubes to fill the glass. Presumably that won’t disappear before the ice melts in the manner of the others.

    Modified your suggestion slightly and went with a Salty Dog and instead of salt on lip of glass I put salt directly into glass. (A margarita may work also.) Still failed to get the end with ice completly melted. I cannot fathom want I am doing incorrectly.

  112. Werner Brozek says:
    October 10, 2011 at 10:19 pm
    “Steve from Rockwood says:
    October 10, 2011 at 2:09 pm
    3. Volume of Arctic sea ice from PIOMAS is 2.87E+04 cu km.
    8. If only 2.6% displacement occurs (fresh versus salt) then 80 x 0.026 = 2.09 mm.”

    You seemed to have used only Arctic ice, but Noerdlinger says:
    Our total estimate for floating ice in terms of displacement is then 660,000 km3.
    So it seems as if he uses total earth floating ice which is 23 times more than your Arctic ice so he gets a number 23 times larger. But is his number correct?
    —————————————————————————————
    Werner:
    Arctic sea ice is estimated by PIOMAS to be 27,800 km3.
    Mueller estimates Arctic shelf ice at 575 km2 with an average thickness of 40 m for 23,000 km3
    Using sea ice + shelf ice in the Arctic only gives a total 4 mm of sea level rise – the value quoted by Walt Meier.
    The 660,000 km3 must include all Antarctic sea + shelf ice.

  113. Anyway – the ‘warmists’ must be trying desperately to ignore the brisk rate at which the sea ice is increasing again this autumn…

  114. “Steve from Rockwood says:
    October 11, 2011 at 5:47 am

    The 660,000 km3 must include all Antarctic sea + shelf ice.”

    I quoted the following right from page 13 of their 28 page document:
    “Our total estimate for floating ice in terms of displacement is then 660,000 km3.”

    For some reason, I cannot get the URL, but when I google “total ocean sea ice volume”, the following is one of the things showing up:
    [PDF]
    Melting Sea Ice will Raise the Ocean Level
    home.comcast.net/~pdnoerd/NoerdlingerBrower.pdf
    File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View
    by PD Noerdlinger – Cited by 8 – Related articles
    freezes into sea ice, a similar decrease in effective ocean volume, equal to 2.6% of … explicitly or implicitly, on the assumption that the total meltwater volume …

    At http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/environment/waterworld.html
    the following appears:
    –floating ice only ~620,000 (km3)

  115. Ferdinand – would you have the equivalent for inversion_co2.jpg for O2 or any other gas please?

    Stephen Skinner – The settling out speed of CO2 in our atmosphere is too slow for the speeds with which the atmosphere circulates/moves/overturn – doesn’t that make the IR properties of CO2 hardly relevant, dwarfed by conduction/convection exchanges between CO2 and the other atmospheric gases?

  116. It’s a cycle, dudes. When sea water freezes, it dumps most of its salt, slightly increasing the salinity and density of the remaining water, but also slightly increasing the volume. This is counterbalanced by the raising of some of the frozen water into the air, as it now occupies more volume than the water phase would have. So not much net change. Then, when it melts, it re-dilutes the water and all is as it was before. All in all, negligible effects all round.

  117. re: the experiment at physorg.
    I suspect that the ruler is placed backwards (if I was to do this experiment I would want my numbers to increase as water level rose and not decrease) so as we cannot make an assumption as to the depth of the beaker. Thus making approximation of the size of the ice cube pointless if trying to work out whether it was touching the bottom of the beaker at the start of experiment..

  118. re: the experiment at physorg.
    I suspect that the ruler is placed backwards (if I was to do this experiment I would want my numbers to increase as water level rose and not decrease) so as we cannot know the depth of the beaker. Thus making approximation of the size of the ice cube pointless if trying to work out whether it was touching the bottom of the beaker at the start of experiment. Also is that beaker getting narrower or is that an optical illusion? Lesser minds want to know.
    PS: if allowed through moderation please delete my earlier similar comment as I made dumb grammatical errors

  119. re: the experiment at physorg.

    I’ve replicated the experiment, with (as I expected) the opposite result. I floated a big 18 oz chunk of ice on (simulated) sea water, sealed the container with plastic wrap (to avoid evaporation/condensation). I then photographed what happened.

    What happened, of course, is that when the ice melted the water level was unaffected.

    http://www.burtonsys.com/climate/sea_ice/

  120. daveburton, I get the opposite result from you.
    i.e. when pure ice floating in salt water melts, the level rises slightly – as physics predicts, and as we have thrashed out twice before at WUWT. Any experiment that does not show that is wrong.

    I am not considering the levels before the ice cube was created, just pure ice in sea water. The whole effect on sea level is trivial at all times, but there is a slight rise. Let us be truly scientific and agree with that. Yes of course when the ice freezes in the first place (with or without salt in it) the levels will change. The original claim stated (deceitfully) that “when [Arctic ice] melts it will not cause a rise in global sea level” and did not consider level changes when the ice first froze.

  121. jaymam, a few questions about your photos:
    1. Are those two different photos of the same container, or two different containers?
    2. Did you seal the container(s), to prevent evaporation/condensation from affecting the result? (A chilled glass can condense a lot of water out of the air in an hour!)
    3. What is the salinity of the saltwater that you used? Was it a realistic approximation of seawater?
    4. How much saltwater did you use, and how much ice did you float on the saltwater?
    5. Why does the surface of the water in the 2nd photo appear to be uneven? Is it still frozen? Why?
    6. It is important that you measure water-level far enough away from the ice that you’re not really measuring the top surface of the ice. In your right-hand photo, did you ensure that the ice was far enough from the edge of the container that it wasn’t causing a false elevation of the liquid water level? (I don’t think so!) You can see the effect I’m talking about, where ice close to the edge of the container causes a local increase in the (frozen!) water level, without affecting the liquid water level elsewhere, in this photo.

    Let’s be truly scientific and agree with this: when water floating at the top of the open ocean changes in density (regardless of whether it is frozen, liquid or slush), it causes a purely local change in sea level. When the floating water’s density goes down (i.e., its volume goes up), as when it freezes or warms, it floats a bit higher, but its displacement does not change. Unless its density increases to above that of the surrounding ocean (which never happens), there can be no effect whatsoever on sea levels elsewhere when its density changes. When it freezes its density goes down, and when it melts its density goes up (and its top surface goes down), but those are a strictly local effects which do not change sea levels elsewhere at all.

    Now there is a minute, theoretical, eventual, secondary effect, due to the fact that meltwater eventually mixes with the surrounding ocean, and reduces its salinity. As long as the less-salty water stays in the top layer of the ocean (as is its tendency, because it floats), it still has no effect on coastal sea levels. But when it eventually mixes into the ocean depths, and reduces the salinity of the water there, that water’s slightly reduced density will have a (very, very tiny) effect on coastal sea levels. But it takes hundreds of years for much of the surface water to find its way to the ocean’s depths.

  122. jaymam says:
    October 11, 2011 at 10:09 pm
    “daveburton, I get the opposite result from you.
    i.e. when pure ice floating in salt water melts, the level rises slightly – as physics predicts, and as we have thrashed out twice before at WUWT. Any experiment that does not show that is wrong.”

    jaymam, not sure if you read in Richards post above: October 10, 2011 at 9:29 pm
    “When sea water freezes there is “brine expulsion” which is supposed to make the floating ice almost pure water. I do, however, see a recent thesis saying this is not so:” – see also the link to the paper there.
    Furthermore it was mentioned that ice density varies in ice shelves where lower levels are compressed by the higher level, not sure how significant this is but could be.
    If all floating ice and shelves melts it was calculated it would increase sea level with 4 cm (all floating north hemisphere floating ice would generate 2 mm). If the above 2 mentioned points are taken into account not sure if there is anything left of the 4 cm. This is more or less a theoretical discussion as true as the one: when we all go to bath in the sea in summer sea level are rising with 4 microns.

  123. May I suggest the following to be done in the experiment:

    1. Use a calibrated laboratory cylinder in the first place, not that useless steel scale, which could be tilted.

    2. Use a highly concentrated salt solution (after all you are trying to prove whether the effect is there and not measure the quantitative effect)

    3. Use plenty of Ice (again for the above reason)

    4. Mount your camera on a tripod at approx the water level. This will ensure the two pictures are taken at the same level

    The water level should rise.

    But as pointed out since the ice is frozen from the sea water and the salt is expelled and redissolved in the water the effect in the sea should be effectively negligible.

  124. I thought that WUWT discussions had already settled this matter. Why do we bother having complex theoretical discussions at WUWT when we can’t even agree on one of the earliest scientific experiments, that of Archimedes?
    Unlike the climate alarmists, I’m not prepared to use misleading facts to try to win an argument.

    Please note well, I am ONLY talking about a lab experiment where pure ice melts when it is floating in sea water. I and others contend that the level of water rises slightly when the ice melts, and that physics predicts that, and that that physics is not wrong.

    Granted that the sea level sank when the ice froze so there is no nett difference.
    Granted that if the icebergs are as salty as the sea water there will be no change in sea level when they melt. Please let’s not revisit all that.
    Granted that if Professor Andrew Shepherd’s worst fears happen and the sea level rises by 49 micrometers every year, after 20 years the sea level will have risen by 1mm, that’s
    one whole millimetre. (How will we tell?)

    It doesn’t matter whether or not Arctic ice freezes with salt in it or not, because we are talking about a simple experiment that you can all do at home. Please all do it and let us know your results. I’m redoing the experiment with sea water, not that the amount of salt actually matters since it’s a principle that we are discussing here.

    And please read the earlier discussion where I thought we agreed that yes the level does rise when pure ice melts, particularly wayne’s comments:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/30/climate-craziness-of-the-week-msm-jumps-on-alarming-headline/#comments

    wayne says:
    May 1, 2010 at 8:28 am

    “You know, when I first read this article this morning I was saying the same thing you are saying. Archimedes wrong in this case, poppy cock! But I love physics and I just had to test this out. These are the weird things that make physics enjoyable and fascinating.
    So I went to wiki and got the densities of ice, water, and sea-water. Set up a thought experiment with 10x10x10 cm cube beaker (1000 ml) with a 500 cm3 (or ml) cube of ice in it and then fill it to the brim with sea-water. Get that in your mind. The ice sticks ~10% above the rim of the beaker of coarse.
    The rest is rather easy to calculate, but I will be darned, he is correct. The volume of the melted ice, even though it sticks out of the beaker will be larger than the “hole” that the floating ice creates and occupies in the sea water. Amazing. I spent a good bit of today checking and double checking the calculations. I kept coming up with 2.5%, not 2.6% difference. Close enough.
    Now that’s interesting to me. If he’s right (and now me), and it appears it is so, and it’s proper physics, then he deserves at least a nod for his honesty and foresight. Here is some unexpected science. We have seen so many things coming out of the AGW camp that are blatantly distorted, manufactured, and manipulated in science and physics that is hard to believe that any thing coming out from that side is true. But this one does appear so.
    But put it in perspective, I also calculated base on that 2.5-2.6% difference and the effect is TINY. As I stated above, ALL of sea ice in the entire world if melted at once would only raise the oceans 7 millimeters, not centimeters. That’s about the width of a pencil or the diameter of a pea. If you were standing at sea level the rise would barely cover the soles of your shoes. Now that’s comical! How do you make a scare story from that?
    But if your interested in a quirk about Archimedes principle, here are the three densities to compute it yourself, 0.9167 for ice, 1.0 for water, and 1.025 for sea water all in g/ml (same as g/cm3). The key is the volumes, not the mass that does this since water expands when frozen and salt water is ~2.5% denser than water, so Archimedes was still right all along, he was only measuring mass.”

  125. “so Archimedes was still right all along, he was only measuring mass”

    Nope.

    Yes Archimedes was still right all along, but he was measuring weight not mass. Archimedes principle doesn’t work in the absense of gravity.

    And you do not need the density of ice to compute the %age volume increase. It is directly proportional to the density of the salt solution, so that is all you need (the density of the salt solution).

  126. Re: “The volume of the melted ice, even though it sticks out of the beaker will be larger than the “hole” that the floating ice creates and occupies in the sea water…”

    Your misconception, jayman, stems from your assumption that the lower-density meltwater will “push aside” (displace) as much normal seawater as an equivalent volume of normal sea water. It won’t. It displaces an equivalent mass of normal sea water.

    The remaining volume of meltwater, or mixed melt and seawater, rises up, in place, creating a locally elevated sea level, but having no effect at all on sea levels beyond the area of ocean to which the meltwater actually flows/mixes.

    In a beaker, the meltwater immediately flows throughout & mixes with the whole body of water. But that is not the case in the open ocean. There the lower density liquid water rises up in place, just as lower-density solid (frozen) water does.

    It doesn’t matter whether the water is solid, liquid or slush, nor whether it contains voids/bubbles. Its displacement is the same in any state, because its mass is the same. As long as its density does not exceed that of the surrounding seawater (which it never will) its varying density has no effect whatsoever on sea level elsewhere.

    Now, when the water is liquid, it gradually mixes with the surrounding ocean, and eventually (by which I mean hundreds of years) the lower density & salinity sea water which results from mixing with meltwater will find its way into the ocean depths. A reduction of density there will affect sea levels everywhere (to a miniscule extent). But density changes in water at the surface have no effect at all on sea level elsewhere.

    Not just immeasurably small, but truly zero.

    Now, if you do the experiment in a beaker, in the lab, there are important differences from the real ocean. Since the container is small, It takes very little time for the meltwater to mix with and reduce the salinity throughout the beaker. The small size of the beaker means that there’s really no such thing as locally elevated sea level unless some of the water is frozen solid; when the water is liquid, it quickly mixes throughout (unlike in the ocean). However, the effect on water density of the change in salinity is still small.

    Take a look at these three pictures:
    http://www.burtonsys.com/climate/sea_ice/PA110069_closeup3a.png
    http://www.burtonsys.com/climate/sea_ice/PA110080.JPG
    http://www.burtonsys.com/climate/sea_ice/PA110082.JPG

    The first photo was taken shortly after 18 oz (by weight) of freshwater ice was added to 1 gallon of saltwater (at approx. ocean salinity). The ice had raised the water level by roughly 22 mm above the 1 gallon level.

    The second photo was taken after the ice had nearly all melted (perhaps a teaspoon remains). In between the two photos, the container did not move, and it remained sealed with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation and condensation. The water levels appear to be identical.

    The third photo was taken after the ice melted, and the water had been allowed to stand for a few hours, to approach room temperature. The water level still appears to be unchanged.

    Here’s a water density calculator:
    http://www.csgnetwork.com/h2odenscalc.html

    In my experiment, I added 18 oz (by weight) of freshwater ice to 128 oz (by volume) of simulated seawater (128 oz of fresh water + 4.7 oz by weight of salt). When the ice melted, the water’s salinity was reduced by about 14%, from about 35g/L to about 30.68 g/L. Plugging in a temperature of 1C and the salinities into the water density calculator, and we get:
    00.10 g/L NaCl -> 1000.008 kg/m^3 (typical tapwater at 1C)
    35.00 g/L NaCl -> 1028.071 kg/m^3 (simulated seawater at 1C)
    30.68 g/L NaCl -> 1024.598 kg/m^3 (after dilution with meltwater at 1C)
    30.68 g/L NaCl @ 15C -> 1022.672 kb/m^3 (after dilution at about 15C)

    So, mixing 18 oz of tapwater into 128 oz of saltwater results in a (1028.071 – 1024.598) / 1028.071 = 0.338% reduction in density, or perhaps as much as 0.525% after warming.

    The (unfortunately not quite uniform) water column is almost 20 cm high, so I would have expected a 0.0034 x 200 = 0.68 mm increase in depth. It surprises me that it isn’t visible in the photos, which are of sufficient resolution that you should be able to see differences of as little as ~0.3 mm.

  127. daveburton says: October 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm –

    Daveburton if pure ice water is floated on saltwater after it melts it will cause the water level to rise.

    This is because before the ice melts it displaces its weight of saltwater as per Archimedes principle. This displaced volume of saltwater is less than the volume of melted ice (water) because it is denser. Therefore the total volume increases.

    If you want to do the experiment accurately please read what I have written at 1:06 pm. However I have just completed the experiment using a glass measuring cup, using quite a concentrated salt solution and a trayful of ice from the freezer. The level is clearly higher. I have taken photographs which I shall post later.

    As I have said the concentration doesnt matter for the effect to take place. The more the concentration the greater the percentage volume increase.

    If you have a 1 litre measuring cup. Mix salt in water separately till it is saturated. Pour about 500 mL of the saturated salt water into the measuring cup. Then weigh 250 gms of ice and plonk it in. Wait for it to melt. The volume should increase by ~ 50 mL. You can easily see it and measure it.

    Just do it and you can see you are wrong.

  128. Richard says:
    October 12, 2011 at 8:52 pm
    daveburton says: October 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm –

    “Daveburton if pure ice water is floated on saltwater after it melts it will cause the water level to rise.”
    Regardless of any experiment that can demonstrate this the line that I took exception to was this:
    “In addition to altering salinity, melting sea ice also raises worldwide sea levels, with POTENTIALLY SIGNIFICANT effects for coastal cities and towns.”
    This statement and the experiment you carried out make no mention of what actual difference in densities are, in the Arctic. Also the Arctic is not a closed system and the there is no starting point where fresh water is introduced and then frozen. It is also not a salty ocean. What if this experiment started with salty water. Remove half/some and freeze that. Then introduce that to the remaining salty water and run the experiment. Otherwise we are in danger of comparing apples with oranges.
    And… the sentance from the NSF is still wrong.

  129. Stephen Skinner I agree that the effect of melting sea ice in the arctic would be virtually zero and that statement certainly is wrong.

  130. I have redone the experiment with pure ice in actual seawater from the bay outside my house, and the increase in level is so small that it’s hard to measure, which appears to be what daveburton discovered.

    I have again redone the experiment with pure ice in water with much more salt dissolved in it, and there is a definite rise in level when the ice melts.

    It is difficult to get ice without bubbles of air in it, and the melting ice blocks keep getting in the way of the meniscus of the water level being measured. I think a physicist should do the experiment with proper laboratory equipment, and explain the physics of the rise,
    e.g. stating the volumes of the water and ice at all stages of the melt.

    I suggest starting with 1000 ml of pure water and add 1000 g of pure ice. The level should stay at 2000 ml throughout the melting.
    Then start with 1000 ml of concentrated brine and add 1000 g of pure ice, and the level should change from say an initial 1950 ml and end up at 2000 ml when the ice has melted. The ice of course floats higher in the brine than in the water.

    I will say yet again that I am ONLY discussing whether or not there is a rise in level during this experiment. I maintain that any competent physicist would say there *is* a rise. Therefore the statements at the top of this article are not strictly correct. Is WUWT going to bother getting science right or are we not going to worry about that? If our science is wrong, that will allow the warmists to attack us as being unscientific.

    There is no doubt that the level of salt water rises when floating pure ice melts. So the statement “melting sea ice also raises worldwide sea levels” is strictly correct if some sea ice has lower salinity than seawater, although everybody seems to be in agreement that the rise is trivial. A scientist would say that a “trivial rise” is not the same as “no rise”.

    The statement ” with POTENTIALLY SIGNIFICANT effects for coastal cities and towns” is of course completely wrong and needed to be changed. I don’t think anybody has disputed that.

  131. Richard, if freshwater ice (floating on the ocean) melts, it will have no effect at all on sea level beyond where its meltwater disperses/mixes and affects salinity. What you get, instead, is a local region of reduced salinity (lower density) surface water, floating on the larger ocean, and a (slightly) locally elevated sea level over that region. But it will have no effect on sea level elsewhere, for a very long time.

    Eventually, the salinity reduction will affect the whole ocean, including even the ocean depths (slightly), and therefore have an (immeasurably tiny) effect on coastal sea levels. But that will take hundreds of years.

    In the lab, in your 1 liter beaker or graduated cylinder, conditions are different. Your melted ice will not remain in one area of the surface, so the “locally elevated” area will cover the whole container, immediately.

    Seawater is about 35 g/L salt. Saturated saltwater is about 10x that.

    I wonder if I can make a table in HTML, in wordpress?

    Density
    freshwater ice0.92
    freshwater at 4C1.00
    seawater (35g/L salt) at 4C1.028
    saturated salt water at 4C1.35

    Floating ice displaces the volume of water which weighs what the ice weighs. So if ice floats on freshwater, only 0.92/1.00 = 92% of it is below the waterline, leaving 8% above. Similarly, if ice floats on seawater, 0.92/1.028 = 89.5% of it is below the waterline, leaving 10.5% above. In a saturated salt solution, 0.92 / 1.25 = 68% of it is below the waterline, leaving 32% above.

    (Note: The volume of saltwater is only slightly affected by the salt in it; I think that about 60% of the salt’s volume effectively “disappears” into the water when it dissolves.)

    After the ice melts and mixes with the rest of the water in the container, the salinity of the whole container is reduced, reducing its density. The floating ice displaced the same mass of original (denser) saltwater, with the excess protruding above the waterline. So the volume of the original saltwater, plus the volume of displaced saltwater due to the floating ice, produces a measured liquid volume X (not counting the ice that rises above that surface) equal to the combined mass of all the saltwater and ice divided by the density of the saltwater. After the ice melts, the salinity of the mixture is reduced, so the density is reduced, but the mass remains the same. Consequently the volume and water level will be higher.

    I’m trying to get the NSF to put a footnote on their page on sea ice, to go along with their mea culpa. I don’t know whether I’ll convince them to do so, but I’ve sent them a link to the following page with suggested wording for such a footnote. Does the wording seem right to everyone here? Do you folks have any changes to recommend?

    http://www.burtonsys.com/climate/sea_ice/nsf_footnote.html

    Dave

  132. Well, the table didn’t work. Let me try a different way:

                                 Density
    freshwater ice               0.92
    freshwater at 4C             1.00
    seawater (35g/L salt) at 4C  1.028
    saturated salt water at 4C   1.35
    
  133. jaymam says: October 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm “I think a physicist should do the experiment with proper laboratory equipment, and explain the physics of the rise,”

    jayman a physicist / scientist / mathematician / engineer, Archimedes, explained the physics over 23 centuries ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archimedes'_principle

    I have already stated that the % age volume increase is directly proportional to the density of the salt solution. This follows directly from Archimedes principle and can be calculated fairly simply.

    The volume of the melted ice = The volume of the solution displaced before melting x the density of the solution / the density of water (1)

    Therefore The percentage volume increase = the density of the solution / the density of water x 100 (2)

    The values are approximate because the density of water and the solution will vary slightly with the temperature.

    “I suggest starting with 1000 ml of pure water and add 1000 g of pure ice. The level should stay at 2000 ml throughout the melting.” Why? Pure water ice floating on pure water will not make ANY difference in the water levels when it melts as can be seen from equation (2) above . The only difference will be if the solution has a different density to pure water.

    Thus to see a big rise

    1. have a denser salt solution that is add more salt – saturated salt solution has a relative density of ~ 1.2 which will mean around a 20% increase

    2. Have more ice – in absolute terms 20% of a larger quantity will be larger than 20% of a smaller quantity.

    I agree that a “trivial rise” is not the same as “no rise” and thus the statement “melting sea ice also raises worldwide sea levels” is strictly correct.

    And the statement ” with POTENTIALLY SIGNIFICANT effects for coastal cities and towns” is completely wrong.

    And Daveburton for the above reasons your statement “if freshwater ice (floating on the ocean) melts, it will have NO EFFECT AT ALL on sea level beyond where its meltwater disperses/mixes and affects salinity.” is wrong.

    It will have an effect, though trivial effect.

  134. And the The percentage volume increase = (the density of the solution – the density of water) / the density of water x 100 (2)

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