What Would Happen if Science Went Stupid? Melting Ice Edition.

Guest humor by David Middleton

What would happen if science went stupid? “Science” articles like this would become the norm (H/T ozspeaksup):

Here’s What Would Happen if All The Ice on Earth Melted Overnight
ANDREA SCHMITZ & BOB HUNT, BUSINESS INSIDER
12 OCT 2019

Ninety-nine per cent of all freshwater ice on Earth is sitting on top of Greenland and Antarctica, and each year, a little more of it melts into the ocean.

Normally, it would take hundreds to thousands of years for it all to melt away. But what if something happened that caused a massive global melt overnight?

[…]

As we slept, sea levels would rise by a whopping 66 meters. Coastal cities like…

[…]

And you’re right, this is probably never going to happen. After all, there’s enough ice right now to cover the entire continent of North America in a sheet a mile thick.

So the next time you hear about record-breaking heat or ultra-powerful hurricanes, at least you know that it could be worse. But scientists estimate that if we don’t take action and global temperatures increase by just 1 degree Celsius, the effects of climate change we already see today will be irreversible.

So yes, it could be worse, and it will be if we’re not careful.

Science Alert

There is so much stupid in this article, that I had to limit my quotation to the least stupid bits to avoid quoting the entire piece of horst schist. For starters, the potential sea level rise is more like 80 meters.

Figure 1. Table 3 from USGS Professional Paper 1386-A-2.. 65 out of 80 potential meters of ice-related potential sea-level rise resides in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. 

Basically, their contention is 66 meters of sea level rise would would cause seawater to infiltrate all of our groundwater reservoirs. This, coupled with the melting of the ice, which holds 99% of Earth’s freshwater, would deprive us of drinking water. While, at the same time, the influx of freshwater into the North Atlantic would shut down the Gulf Stream, triggering a The Day After Tomorrow-style mini ice age, while simultaneously melting all of the permafrost on Earth, causing mercury poisoning, doubling Earth’s greenhouse gases, leading to 3.5 °C of warming relative to current conditions…

That might not sound like much, but say goodbye to that mini European ice age, and even rivers and lakes around the world. They’d evaporate from the higher temperatures and cause mass droughts and desert-like climates. And all that extra water vapour in the atmosphere would fuel more frequent and stronger storms, floods, and hurricanes.

So all of that newly established coastline on the eastern US would be one of the last places you’d want to live. Instead, there would be mass migrations to Canada, Alaska, the Arctic, and even what’s left of the Antarctic.

Science Alert

This bit was followed up by, “And you’re right, this is probably never going to happen”… Probably? Try not even close to physically possible.

The Earth’s average surface temperature would have to rise by about 10 °C, in order to melt most of the perennial ice on Earth. It would have to rise by at least 4-5 °C just to melt most of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The bulk of Antarctic ice, the East Antarctic Ice sheet has been stable since at least the Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum (MMCO), possibly since the Early Oligocene (34 Ma).

Figure 2. High Latitude SST (°C) From Benthic Foram δ18O, temperature scale is for ice-free conditions (Zachos, et al., 2001) (Older toward right).

If we compare the Zachos reconstruction, using a temperature conversion suitable for the icier Quaternary Period, to the modern instrumental record, we can see that all of the warming of the past 150 years is barely noticeable.

Figure 3. High Latitude SST (°C) From Benthic Foram δ18O (Zachos, et al., 2001) and HadSST3 (Hadley Centre / UEA CRU via www.woodfortrees.org) plotted at same scale, tied at 1950 AD (older is toward the left).

Another 0.5 to 1.0 ºC between now and the end of the century doesn’t even put us into Eemian climate territory, much less the Miocene or even the Pliocene. We will still be in the Quaternary Period noise level. Bear in mind that the instrumental temperature data are of much higher resolution than the δ18O derived temperatures. As such, the δ18O data reflect the bare minimum of dynamic amplitude range. Actual paleo temperatures would have reflected a far greater range of variability (higher highs and lower lows).

Defusing the permafrost methane time bomb.

Regarding the massive release of methane from permafrost, you literally “can’t get there from here.

News in Brief: Warming may not release Arctic carbon
Element could stay locked in soil, 20-year study suggests
By Erin Wayman
May 15, 2013

Researchers used greenhouses to artificially warm tundra (shown, in autumn) for 20 years. They found no net change in the amount of carbon stored in the soil.


The Arctic’s stockpile of carbon may be more secure than scientists thought. In a 20-year experiment that warmed patches of chilly ground, tundra soil kept its stored carbon, researchers report.

[…]

Science News

In the Alaska experiment, they warmed the permafrost by 2 °C over a 20-yr period (10 times the actual rate of warming since the 1800’s) and there wasn’t the slightest hint of an accelerated methane release.

Vaks et al., 2013 found no evidence of widespread permafrost thawing above 60°N since MIS-11, not even during MIS-5…

The absence of any observed speleothem growth since MIS 11 in the northerly Lenskaya Ledyanaya cave (despite dating outer edges of 7 speleothems), suggests the permanent presence of permafrost at this latitude since the end of MIS-11. Speleothem growth in this cave occurred in early MIS-11, ruling out the possibility that the unusual length of MIS-11 caused the permafrost thawing.

[…]

The degradation of permafrost at 60°N during MIS-11 allows an assessment of the warming required globally to cause such extensive change in the permafrost boundary.

[…]

Vaks et al., 2012

There is no evidence of widespread thawing of Arctic permafrost since Marine Isotope Stage 11 (MIS-11), approximately 450,000 years ago. None of the subsequent interglacial stages indicate widespread permafrost thawing, above 60°N, not even MIS-5 (Eemian/Sangamonian), which was about 2 °C warmer than present day, possibly as much as 5 °C warmer in the Arctic.

The last interglacial stage (MIS-5, Sangamonian/Eemian) was considerably warmer than the current interglacial and sea level was 3-6 meters higher than modern times. It was particularly warmer in the Arctic. Oxygen isotope ratios from the NGRIP ice core indicate that the Arctic was approximately 5 °C warmer at the peak of MIS-5 (~135,000 years ago).

It also appears that it was significantly warmer in the Arctic during the Holocene Climatic Optimum (~7,000 years ago) than modern times. The Arctic was routinely ice-free during summer for most of the Holocene up until about 1,000 years ago. 

The best geological evidence for the Arctic methane time bomb being a dud can be found in the stratigraphy beneath Lake El’gygytgyn in northeastern Russia. The lake and its mini-basin occupy a 3.58 million year old meteor crater. Its sediments are ideally suited for a continuous high-resolution climate reconstruction from the Holocene all the way back to the mid-Pliocene. Unlike most other Arctic lakes, Lake El’gygytgyn, has never been buried by glacial stage continental ice sheets. Melles et al., 2012 utilized sediment cores from Lake El’gygytgyn to build a 2.8 million year climate reconstruction of northeastern Russia.

The data from Melles et al., 2012 are available from NOAA’s paleoclimatology library. And it is clearly obvious that Arctic summers were much warmer during MIS-11c (430-400 ka) than either the Eemian/Sangamonian (MIS-5e) or the Holocene (MIS-1)…

Figure 4. Comparison of warmest temperatures and sea level for MIS-11c, MIS-5e and MIS-1.
Figure 5. Figure 4 with vertical exaggeration to highlight differences.

Even though there may have been widespread melting of Arctic permafrost during the early part of MIS-11c, there’s no evidence that it caused any sort of catastrophic rise in atmospheric greenhouse gases.

Figure 6. Atmospheric carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide from Dome C in Antarctic (CDIAC).

Of course, there’s always the possibility that MIS-11c did experience a sub-resolution spike in greenhouse gases. Dome C can’t “see” short-duration spikes in atmospheric gases. We’re left with three possibilities:

  1. Much warmer temperatures and partial melting of permafrost during MIS-11c didn’t cause a spike in greenhouse gases.
  2. Much warmer temperatures and partial melting of permafrost during MIS-11c did cause a spike in greenhouse gases; but the Antarctic ice cores can’t resolve it.
  3. The unresolved spike in MIS-11c spike in atmospheric greenhouse gases caused the MIS-11c warming… but didn’t prevent the subsequent glacial stage cooling.

In other words…

What is the source of this stupidity?

When I first glanced at this article, I thought it was referring to a recent scientific paper. But the byline should have been a hint.

ANDREA SCHMITZ & BOB HUNT, BUSINESS INSIDER

The authors:

Andrea Schmitz
Animation Producer

Business Insider

Andrea seems to specialize in “clickbait” articles.

The last one is easy, you become Thor from Avengers Endgame.

Bob Hunt
I studied and researched as a marine biologist for 8 years, with specific interests in marine mammals. Before moving into science writing and filmmaking as a way of connecting the public and science in a more harmonious and encouraging way. I love to write about anything from Animal biology to space exploration to the science of sport.

Business Insider

Bob topped Belushi by a full year.

For that matter, what is Business Insider?

Welcome! Business Insider is a fast-growing business site with deep financial, media, tech, and other industry verticals. Launched in 2007 by former top-ranked Wall Street analyst Henry Blodget and DoubleClick executives Dwight Merriman and Kevin Ryan, the site is now the largest business news site on the web. Business Insider was acquired by German media company Axel Springer SE in September, 2015.

Business Insider

It’s a “clickbait” shop. Here’s today’s “front page“:

Figure 7. Correction: Business Insider is a left-wing “clickbait” shop.

How could “Science Alert” publish such stupidity?

About Us
ScienceAlert is an independently run news website that covers the most important developments in the world of science and scientific research, while sharing fun, interesting information. 

Our goal is to inspire, entertain, and educate knowledge-lovers worldwide, regardless of background or education level.

In a world of bad news, we think you’ll find something fascinating here every time you visit, and hopefully leave feeling a little smarter than when you arrived.


Editorial values
We write in a style that makes science accessible to anyone, but we never lose our strong grounding in evidence-based knowledge – so you know you can trust the cool stories you find here.

Our team of experienced journalists are no strangers to delving deep into the method section of the study they are covering, and they readily quiz experts when a claim looks too good to be true.

We are also proud of having a pre-publication fact-checking system; our dedicated staff systematically scrutinise every original article before it goes up.

[…]

Science Alert

A “clickbait” shop with the word “science” in the title.

References

If you really want any of the references, just ask for specific ones in the comments. If I think you seriously want to review them, I’ll provide them when I get…

Featured Image

Science Made Stupid: How to Discomprehend the World Around Us is a 1985 book written and illustrated by Tom Weller. The winner of the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Non-Fiction Book, it is a parody of a junior high or high school-level science textbook. Though now out of print, high-resolution scans are available online, as well as an abridged transcription, both of which have been endorsed by Weller [1]. Highlights of the book include a satirical account of the creationism vs. evolution debate and Weller’s drawings of fictional prehistoric animals (e.g., the duck-billed mastodon.)

Wikipedia
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131 thoughts on “What Would Happen if Science Went Stupid? Melting Ice Edition.

  1. About as stupid as asking “What would happen if the sun went out?”
    Or “What would happen if a hole opened in the bottom of the sea & all the water drained out?”
    Or “What would happen if all the air drifted up & away from the Earth?”
    Or “What is gravity stopped?”
    Etc, etc.

    Stupid is as stupid does. (ht Forest Gump)

      • The first thing that comes to my mind is to consider the amount of heat energy that would be required to melt all of the ice, over any time scale.
        The amount of energy that would be required is prodigious.
        Most of the ice would require a gigantic amount of energy to even bring it to the melting point, at which time the next fraction of a degree of warming would not occur until the latent heat of fusion for all of that 0.0°C ice to be converted into water at the same temp would need to be added.
        I do not think anyone knows what the temperature of all the ice is at the present time, but it is safe to assume that the ice on Antarctica is mostly very far below the melting point, probably in the area of 50°C below zero.
        Heat of fusion of water is 80 kilocalories per gram, or 80 Calories (large C denotes a kilocalorie)
        Specific heat of ice starts out at ~ 0.5 calories per gram at just below freezing, but then gets lower as the temperature of the ice decreases, going down by about 1/8th at -50° C.
        Roughly speaking then, it takes as much energy to melt each gram of Antarctic ice as it does to heat a gram of water from freezing to the boiling point, which makes it more intuitively obvious exactly how much energy is involved in melting very cold ice: A whole helluva lot.

        Not much point in doing the math, which is a simple calculation, knowing the amount of ice involved.
        So what the heck.
        Let’s round out the ice to an even 33 million cubic kilometers. 3.3 x 10^7
        The entire volume of all the oceans is estimated at 1.33 x 10^9 km cubed.
        About 1/40th as much.
        So just using those numbers it is obvious that melting all the ice would be an amount of energy which would raise the temp of all the water in all the oceans by over 2 degrees C, probably about 2.5°C
        All of the zeta joules that has supposedly (if you buy it) been added to the oceans by global warmening in 30-50years is in the hundredths of a degree.
        0.055°C by alarmist estimates, which is likely pure malarkey to begin with.
        So a couple of orders of magnitude more.
        I think the amount is best quoted in the traditional units, zettaHiroshimas, or else it just sounds like a ridiculous number, instead of a ridiculously scary number.
        One cubic km of ice is a billion cubic meters (1000 to the third power), and a cubic meter of ice is 919 kilograms.
        So a cubic km of ice weighs 919 billion (check my math) kilograms.
        919 trillion grams.
        33 million km^3 is thus = to 30.33 x 10^21 grams
        Melting all the ice would require over 2.43 x 10^24 calories.
        1 calorie is equal to 4.184 joules.
        So > 10.15 x 10^24th joules.
        Over ten thousand zetta joules.
        If the ice was already about to melt anyhow.
        12,500 zetta joules more realistically (if using that word in such a ridiculous calculation makes any sense).
        Total heat from the Sun hitting the Earth is something like, from one source, 1.7 x 10^17 watts.
        A watt is a joule per second.
        So if every erg reaching the Earth was used to melt ice, it would take something like 60 million seconds to melt it all, if it was all at 0 C to start with. Add another 1/4 of this number to bring it all to melting point (see about).
        75 million seconds.
        868 days.
        Over two years and four months, of all the energy hitting the Earth from the Sun (again, check my math)!
        But even the highest estimates of CO2 forcing is in the single watts per square meter range
        A fraction of the total incoming solar.

        Then again, if all of the energy emitted by the Sun was concentrated on the ice on Earth, it would hardly take any time at all.
        That is how we oughta look at it.
        Right?
        But wait.
        That is just enough heat to melt all the ice to water at 0 degrees C.
        Dumping all that cold water into the ocean would probably cause a new ice age to start.
        So there is that.

    • “What if gravity stopped?”

      Yes, that’s about a fanciful.

      Or maybe ask what would happen to the rest of the planet if there was sufficient heat energy to melt all that ice and it arrived “over night “. That is orders of magnitude more energy than a total nuclear war where US and RF detonate their entire nuclear arsenals, or an asteroid strike bigger than the one which ended the dinosaurs. We would not even get time to worry about the rising water nor the future of the Gulf stream.

    • “Business Insider is a fast-growing business site with deep financial, media, tech, and other industry verticals.”
      WTF are deep verticals? chasms? bottomless pits?
      black holes?
      Fanciful non sequiturs do not help the clueless with critical thinking deficiencies.

      • The word “vertical” is used to describe what focuses someone or some organization maintains. However, it is a buzzword most of the time, and especially so if used by media companies. It makes one sound chic and trendy. I’ve had 20-somethings who are making their first foray into sale,s marketing, or consulting use that word over and over in front of me. It, along with a few other contemporary buzzwords– diversity is another one– causes me to deep-dive into what they are actually talking about. “So, you talk about ‘verticals’… tell me more about your deep vertical in the finance industry.” This is typically followed by 3 to 5 minutes of rambling.

    • About ss stupid as asking “what if there’s a magnetic reversal?” Oh, wait a minute, that could actually happen and some signs of it getting closer already exist. Now I’ve scared myself.

    • That last “question” (actually, “what if gravity reversed”) was the basis for another Hugo Award winner.

      The sad thing is, IT WAS NOT A SATIRE!

      (If you must, search for “The Day the World Turned Upside Down.” I refuse to take any responsibility for regurgitation, concussion, or desk breakage.)

  2. Did anybody read the news today, of XR stopping a responding ambulance for over 20seconds, blue lights (uk) flashing yet the stopped it… I wonder who they call when they need medical help 😐

  3. Can they do this one next?

    Here’s What Would Happen if All The CO2 on Earth Broke Its Covalent Bond Overnight

  4. Crops would fail….from the cold instead of the opposite proclaimed by the climate religion experts.

    WSJ Oct 14
    Early Blizzard Wallops Vulnerable Crops
    Farmers who planted late after rainy spring face new threat from early freeze
    By Jacob Bunge and Kirk Maltais

    Updated Oct. 14, 2019
    Farmers who delayed planting in waterlogged fields this spring face a new threat as they race to harvest their crops: snow.

    Heavy snowfall and high winds over the past several days buffeted northern Farm Belt states where many farmers faced historic planting delays last spring. The early blizzard bookended a trying year for U.S. farmers. Crop prices generally remain under pressure because of high supplies and slackened demand as a result of the U.S.-China trade war. And many crops now threatened by a freeze are immature because they were planted so late.

    Roger Rix, who farms near Groton, S.D., was hustling with his sons last Wednesday to harvest soybeans before the storm hit. He suspected two-thirds of their soybean acres would still be in the field when the storm was forecast to arrive this week.

    “We know the snow’s going to be a disaster,” Mr. Rix said.

    • What crops from what cold?
      We have already entered a magical realm where ice melts over night without heat.

      I might suggest that if all the ice melted overnight we would have far bigger problems than treading water, because if that can happen anything can happen including gravity disappearing.

  5. What people don’t seem to realize that 95% of permafrost cover by area have vanished in the last 12,000 years or so.

    Not going to worry about the last 5%………………

    • I don’t think it is nearl that much. Ground under ice-sheets is usually not frozen oddly enough, and permafrost did not extend far south of the ice in North America. Though it is true that a lot of permafrost must have melted in Eurasia.

  6. Hi
    If I remember correctly the current rate of sea level rise annually is 1.28mm per year – is that figure correct ???.
    Thanks

      • “For starters, the potential sea level rise is more like 80 meters.”

        Did you see this before? From NASA so real Scientificy.

        But using NASA’s calculations what would be the effect?
        “(4) Calculate the sea-level-rise answers by dividing the water volumes determined in #3 by the global surface-water area determined in #1, thereby spreading the effect of the ice sheet’s water throughout the expanse of the Earth’s surface-water area. The answers are:
        (a) (2,343,728 cubic kilometers)/(361,132,000 square kilometers) = 0.0065 kilometers = 6.5 meters for the Greenland ice sheet;
        (b) (26,384,368 cubic kilometers)/(361,132,000 square kilometers) = 0.0731 kilometers = 73.1 meters for the Antarctic ice sheet;
        (c) 6.5 meters + 73.1 meters = 79.6 meters for Greenland and Antarctica together.”

        http://pumas.jpl.nasa.gov/files/02_10_97_1.pdf

        So by NASA reasoning we will get meters of sea level rise, but still have the same sized ocean (361,132 Km^2). No place gets drowned by the new rise, so why worry.

      • hi David, thanks for adding some real science to that daft article, even without a huge amount of the serious science subjects in my cv it stank to high heaven!
        sci alert a couple of yrs ago did run some decent stuff and wasnt so loopy warmist biased as its gone recently
        dunno what happened? change of management or something I guess.
        on the sealevel
        we have the ABC running some aussie so called scientists on coastal mangrove areas in Darwin raving up..
        now I dunno how but we had one saying the mangroves were dying cos of drought(theyre shoreline so wtf?) how??
        then next persons talking of rising seas wiping them out as well as darwin homes etc
        it was in one of their segments but I will have to hunt or wait for a replay( which is done 3x or more a week
        not quite sure what our taxes are funding if theyre only running 1/3 of the content as new?

        • I think Science Alert is bit like a less discerning version of Real Clear Energy… Much less discerning! Thanks for the tip! When CTM forwarded it to me, his comment was “Want to have some fun?” And I did… 😉

    • Take it from a Dutchman with an acute interest in knowing it very precisely that it is 1.6-1.9 mm/yr. The 1.6mm/yr accounts for the geosyncline subsidence of the Low Countries on the North Sea where the tidal gauges are located. Archimedes of Syracuse would have told you that the rise in the oceans is almost exactly the same.

  7. The melt wouldn’t bother the gulfstream at all, the cold heavy fresh water would sink just like it already does. It takes minutes for salinity to mix, not centuries. The cold water would rapidly leach salts and minerals from the bottom mud where the salinity is higher and just become more cold water at depth. The increase in surface area combined with mud debris from land-intrusion and the sudden addition of the land-intruded water into the circulation system would strengthen the gulfstream due to albedo and diffusion changes.

    The rise would only be about 30-33m total because all the ice is already displacing its own mass in magma. This is a basic fact… additionally a large proportion of the Antarctic ice and almost all the Arctic ice is already displacing salt water.

    I’m tired of narrow minded over-educated blindered nincompoops grandstanding their lack of knowledge. They’re no better through ignorance than the warmists who can’t understand that correlation is almost NEVER causation.

    • “The melt wouldn’t bother the gulfstream at all, the cold heavy fresh water would sink just like it already does.”
      The .001 C water is less dense than saltwater.
      The warm surface saltwater is shallow outside of the tropics. The cold fresh water would cool the warm shallow ocean water. Like dam break, fresh water head towards the pole {taking days or weeks to get there].
      So within a week or two, the ocean which had an average surface temperature of about 17 C would have average surface temperature of less then 1 C. The ocean nearer to poles would freeze before the pulse of water reach the tropics. And new York City fresh water “ocean” would freeze shortly after pulse reached the equator. And global air temperature which depends upon an average ocean temperature of 17 C
      would instead ocean of surface temperature which was less 1 C, plunging the air above ocean to around 1 C. So in a week or two, global average temperature would go from 15 C to less than 0 C. And have huge amount of polar sea ice. Close the the mythical snowball earth..
      But if just the huge amount of glacial ice “fell” into the ocean the latent heat would make a large amount and very thick amount polar sea ice, or it’s impossible. Or only way to get all the ice off the land mass is to first melt it- which impossible within centuries of time. As is, just enough to rise sea level by say, a mere 5 meters within a century.

    • It takes minutes for salinity to mix, not centuries.

      Intuitively that would be the case, but I saw several documentaries where there were semi-permanent underwater stratified layers that were caused by salinity differences. IIRC there were examples in the Gulf of Mexico, and another in water holes in the Yucatan Peninsula were salt water had intruded from underneath the fresh water. The very distinct boundaries were not caused by temperature, but by salinity differences.

  8. A round Tuit. Almost as rare as the Lert.

    When in peril, a county asks, be a Lert, your country needs Lerts.

  9. Hey, Whatwouldhappeniff is my favorite! Whatwouldhappeniff all the brainwashed climate tardos suddenly realized they’d been duped? Well ok, we know it will happen eventually, over time, but whatwouldhappeniff it happened overnight? Oh my, the sound of splody heads everywhere would be deliciously ginormous.

  10. What would happen if the Laurentide Ice Sheet magically returned over night?

    Sea levels would FALL by a whopping ~160 meters.
    New York City and Chicago would be under about a mile of ice.
    The Basin and Range would have pluvial lakes.
    Pupfish would rejoice.

  11. Ah, science.. I remember science! Which puts me in mind of an experiment we did at school.
    So, here’s fun. You too can be like Greta Thunberg and see CO2! Amaze your family and
    friends! You will need:

    Apparatus:
    A medium sized bowl, preferably glass.
    An empty jam jar or a clear glass tumbler.
    A candle (a tea light is best as it will float)

    Method:
    1/Pour water into the bowl to a depth of about 1 inch (25mm).
    2/Light the candle and float it on the water.
    3/Place the jar or tumbler over the candle.

    Watch carefully as the candle exhausts the oxygen supply and burns out. You will notice that
    the water level rises inside the jar! So what has caused this strange phenomenon? Well, air
    is made up of approx 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen (and a few trace gases). We have just burned a
    carbon based fuel in a confined space, thereby converting the available oxygen into CO2. What
    you have just witnessed is CO2 bonding with the water on contact, creating a mild
    solution of carbonic acid. Yes, CO2 is so keen to bond with water that it can overcome
    gravity
    . This bond can be broken by heat or a reduction in pressure.

    So, what can we conclude from this experiment? Well, CO2 and water behave the same way in open
    atmosphere, which is why every drop of rain that has ever fallen is a mild solution of carbonic
    acid. Wherever CO2 and water come into contact they will bond, at the surface of the oceans,
    lakes, rivers, waterfalls, etc. you name it. If the temperature rises or atmospheric pressure
    falls, some of it will be released. Therefore, there is as much free CO2 in the atmosphere as
    conditions will allow. (And whoever just said “ocean acidification”, go and stand in the
    corner. There ain’t no such thing.)
    Not convinced? OK, pour yourself a glass of soda and leave it to stand. You will notice CO2 escaping, quickly at first, but after a while the bubbles will cease to form. There is still CO2 dissolved in the sodey pop but it has reached equilibrium with the atmosphere. The reason it held on to more CO2 when it was fresh is because it was bottled at 3-4 times atmospheric pressure. Heat it or reduce the pressure and it will release
    more CO2. Again.. there is as much free CO2 in the atmosphere as conditions will allow.

    OK, so you didn’t exactly “see” CO2, but you have seen how it reacts with water, which is even
    better! And congratulations, you have just done more real science than the IPCC ever has.

    I recall doing the candle experiment in a chemistry class over 50 years ago. What do they teach now?

    • The water rises in the jar, RHS, because the air pressure inside the jar has become less than the air pressure outside the jar.

      It’s true some of the CO2 produced dissolves into the water.

      That reduces the internal air pressure, because CO2 is more soluble in water than the O2 that got used up.

    • RHS said in part “. . . I recall doing the candle experiment in a chemistry class over 50 years ago. What do they teach now? . . . ”

      Hopefully NOT (for me – some 60 years back!); that the 20% of the air (the O2) was used up. Clearly the flame gave up long before the last O2 molecule was involved. Also, the O2 molecule are replaced one-for-one by CO2 molecules. So, around the dead candle is some mixture of N2, O2, and CO2 (unknown proportions of O2/CO2 – probably about 50:50) with some CO2 perhaps entering the water at some scale of time.

      What we DO have for sure, at the moment the candle goes out, is very HOT gas which then cools quite rapidly, sucking some water up into the jar. This is the correct explanation I have believed for years, and is obviously at least a major factor in the observation. ]

      What is your source – just curious.

      Bernie

      • If the effect was due to the hot gas cooling, we would see the water level drop due to hot expanding gas before it started to cool. We do not see this. As I remember, we used litmus paper to show that the PH of the water had dropped, and we added something to the water that precipitated out, which was analysed to prove that the CO2 had bonded with the water. It was a long time ago, so forgive me if I do not remember all the details of the experiment. It occurs to me that with modern equipment like digital PH meters and gas analyzers that you could run the experiment and see exactly what is happening in real time. Unfortunately I do not have access to lab equipment, but maybe somebody out there does?

        • Here’s a similar experiment, the difference being that they pre-mixed calcium hydroxide to the water to get an immediate precipitate reaction. It illustrates just how quickly the CO2 and water bonds.

          • In the 35-second video (totally undocumented) we see that when the candle goes out, the liquid comes up in a matter of perhaps 5 seconds to about 16% of the full volume. That’s a loss (by some means) of 16% of the original total gas.

            Since a candle goes out when the O2 drops from a normal (open air) 21% to about 17% (causing a CO2 increases from an open-air CO2 of from 0.04% to 4%), where could the other 16% – 4% = 12% of the original gas have gone, even if we assume (unlikely) that ALL the CO2 very quickly dissolved in the water?

            In short, we need to explain a loss of 16% of volume but the conversion and removal of O2 as CO2 would (if true) be only 4%. If not thermal effects – then what?

            [By comparison, 4% CO2 is the concentration of exhaled breath – known from high-school biology to cloud limewater.]

            And what happens at 19 seconds. We have no comments/explanations. The solution is suddenly a very bright (reflective) white, although it was already quite cloudy at time 0, even before the candle was covered. Is it a time lapse, or did someone switch on a light?

            -Bernie

        • RHS said in part: “If the effect was due to the hot gas cooling, we would see the water level drop due to hot expanding gas before it started to cool. . . . “

          It would be very difficult to place the jar over the flame fast enough that the entire volume were not very quickly filled with hot air by the time the jar-rim made contact with the water. (You have to place the jar relatively slowly so as not to break it, or to accidently splash/tip-over/blow-out the lit candle.)

          The water would not “drop” in any case, as initially there is no water IN the jar – only air. If the air were still warming, we would expect bubbles around the jar edge. The air is already hot when the jar edge touches the water.

          After the candle gives up, water enters the jar for the first time.

          Bernie

          • The only way around it I can think of would be to have a remote ignition system for the candle so you can light it while it’s sealed in the jar. You’d need to calculate the amount of thermal expansion first so you have enough play in the system.

            It seems like both effects are in play in the described experiment though.

          • There is an explanation on youtube, click “youtube” at the bottom right of the video to go to the site. And you could just try it for yourself.

          • (1) RHS – thanks for the link to the captions/comments. It answers the question as to what happens at 19 seconds: someone turns on a flashlight – hence the unfortunate misdirection as to a possible sudden change of chemical state. Nothing new happens at that time.

            (2) We note however in consequence that nothing happens at all EXCEPT about a second after the candle goes out the water starts to come up for perhaps 5 seconds to about 16% of the volume. Note well that the cloudiness of the limewaters does not change noticeably for the entire duration of the experiment – particularly not even as the water is rising most rapidly.

            (3) I noted above that only a 4% CO2 concentration was possible when the candle goes out, yet we see a 16% loss of gas. This, EVEN IF ALL CO2 WERE DISSOLVED, it would be only ¼ enough. Only thermal contraction seems a possible explanation.

            (4) Physical Chemistry issues assure us that only a very small fraction is dissolved. Consider that if we were to invert a jar of 100% CO2 over the water surface (not that difficult – I have a simple version of experiment running now), we would not expect the gas to be completely replaced by water sucked in. In my first run of this experiment, I saw no rise in the water at the rim at all – at least not on the time scale of seconds (dramatically, as with the candle), minutes, and coming up on hours as of this writing.

          • (4) Physical Chemistry issues assure us that only a very small fraction is dissolved. Consider that if we were to invert a jar of 100% CO2 over the water surface (not that difficult – I have a simple version of experiment running now), we would not expect the gas to be completely replaced by water sucked in. In my first run of this experiment, I saw no rise in the water at the rim at all – at least not on the time scale of seconds (dramatically, as with the candle), minutes, and coming up on hours as of this writing.
            Physical chemistry tells us that CO2 will dissolve in water until the equilibrium composition is reached. In the experiment in the video it is not water it is a solution of calcium hydroxide, in that case the CO2 reacts with the hydroxide forming insoluble Calcium Carbonate which precipitates out leaving a lower concentration of CO2 so more CO2 will dissolve and more CaCO3 will precipitate out so the equilibrium will not be reached. The result of that experiment suggests that the candle flame is extinguished when the oxygen concentration drops to ~4%.

      • I too remember that from high school science. Straining the memory cells but the explanation I recall was a drop in pressure as some the oxygen was consumed and replaced by a denser gas CO2.

        What is fascinating to see is the differing interpretations on this simple experiment. The science is not settled.

        Now extrapolate this to a whole planet and suddenly the science is settled. As some would have you believe.

        • No oxygen is consumed, it is converted to CO2. The pressure drops because the CO2 is bonding with the water.

          • Bernie,
            If it were entirely due to thermal contraction I don’t think the reaction would be that fast. Yes, the water is cooler than the air, but the hottest air would be at the top of the vessel and would not be cooled that quickly from below. From memory, when we did this experiment at school, the water was tested and we had indeed created a mild solution of carbonic acid. I reproduced the experiment in my kitchen before posting, and the reaction is pretty much as you see in the video, but I have no means to test how acidic the water is afterward.

          • RHS said in part: “If it were entirely due to thermal contraction I don’t think the reaction would be that fast. . . . “

            By “fast” do you mean the order of 5 seconds as we see on the video you posted (and many others) ?

            That time seems about right to me – we are talking about a GAS, which has a VERY SMALL heat capacity, after all.

            It is any dissolution of CO2 in water that would be expected to be quite slow. My experiment still has not budged after some 20 hours. Evidently the equilibrium state had been reached.

            Since PV=NRT we have V2/V1 = (T2/T1)(P1/P2). The T’s are absolute and P1 and P2 are very nearly equal (the difference in height being a couple of inches vs. 30 feet of water for one atmosphere. Thus V2/V1 ~ T2/T1. Room temp is about 70 degrees F (530 R, Rankine = absolute Fahrenheit). This corresponds to a hot-gas temperature of about 663 R (203 F – about boiling) to cool down to 80% gas (20% water sucked up). BALLPARK. Check my math/logic please.

            RHS also said: “ . . . . indeed created a mild solution of carbonic acid. . . . “

            I suspect no one doubts that some small amount of CO2 makes a mildly acidic solution. But this is not the same as establishing that CO2 is dissolved rapidly and in sufficient quantity to explain the rapid (5 second) and large (16%-20%) upsurge seen in the video. Indeed try the simple experiment with 100% CO2 that I used.

            Bernie

          • CORRECTION: In a second (improved) attempt at the pure-CO2 experiment I am getting a different result – water IS being sucked into the jar. With 100% CO2 in the jar (as opposed to the 4% from the candle), the water is at about 42% of the volume AFTER about 14 hours (as opposed to 5 seconds for the candle heat effect). So dissolving CO2 would seem to be a real but tiny tiny factor in the candle experiment based on the much smaller amount of CO2 (4% – candle) and much slower speed (1/10000 of the speed as seen on candle videos). Still, the magnitude of the effect (42% – still running?) was a surprise to me.

          • So dissolving CO2 would seem to be a real but tiny tiny factor in the candle experiment based on the much smaller amount of CO2 (4% – candle) and much slower speed (1/10000 of the speed as seen on candle videos).

            Try doing the experiment with a solution of calcium hydroxide and see how fast that goes.

          • Phil said October 17, 2019 at 12:55 pm:
            “Try doing the experiment with a solution of calcium hydroxide and see how fast that goes.”]

            (1) The “kitchen experiment”, of which there are many videos and personal memories, are done, I believe, (except for the one RHS has linked to), WITH WATER and NOT with limewater, all to the SAME drama.

            (2) The linked experiment shows the same ALREADY-CLOUDED (!) limewater before the jar is lowered, while the candle is burning under the jars, and after the flame goes out. Do not be fooled by someone turning on a flashlight at 19 seconds!

            (3) According to several other videos, it is the O2 decreasing to about 17% that extinguishes the flame. That would be 4% CO2, not 4% O2.

            – Bernie

          • With 100% CO2 in the jar (as opposed to the 4% from the candle), the water is at about 42% of the volume AFTER about 14 hours……
            Still, the magnitude of the effect (42% – still running?) was a surprise to me.

            Well for 100% CO2 you’d expect a concentration of CO2aq of 3.4×10^-2 mol/L (pH ~4)
            So if your jar is half a litre that’s ~1/44 mole, if half of that dissolves in one litre of water that would be 1/88 mol/L (1.1×10^-2). So based on that your numbers seem reasonable.

          • (2) The linked experiment shows the same ALREADY-CLOUDED (!) limewater before the jar is lowered, while the candle is burning under the jars, and after the flame goes out. Do not be fooled by someone turning on a flashlight at 19 seconds!

            (3) According to several other videos, it is the O2 decreasing to about 17% that extinguishes the flame. That would be 4% CO2, not 4% O2.

            The limewater will be cloudy because of atmospheric CO2.
            The result of the video experiment indicates that the flame extinguishes when O2 falls to about 4% not 17%. Where do you get your value of 17% for the extinction point?

          • Phil said: “The limewater will be cloudy because of atmospheric CO2.”

            So – the useful result seen using this “expired” limewater is exactly what? Meaningless? Especially since almost everyone else is getting the same result with plain water.

            Phil also said: “The result of the video experiment indicates that the flame extinguishes when O2 falls to about 4% not 17%. Where do you get your value of 17% for the extinction point?”

            Those sound like MY OWN estimates (4 and 17) only in reverse! So, let me “turn-about” and ask where you find any such numbers as you claim to be contained in the video! I see no numbers quoted there at all!

            If you merely Google and ask for the O2 necessary for combustion they will say in many places about 16%, down from 21% in the atmosphere. If 4% O2 supported combustion and the atmosphere were 21% O2 (five times) we would all be ashes long ago.

            – Bernie

          • The purpose of the limewater is to irreversibly remove the dissolved CO2 from the air to contrast with the experiment with pure water.

            If the experiment is done properly using pure water you’d expect the following:
            Initially when the candle is burning you’d expect a build up in pressure due to heating and the fact that for every molecule of O2 that is consumed about 1.33 molecules of gaseous products are produced (CO2 and H2Og). Once the candle stops burning the atmosphere in the chamber will cool down and the pressure drop and the water vapor condense. Once cooling has completed the volume of gas will be reduced compared to the start by about one third of the volume of the oxygen consumed (for every molecule of O2 consumed ~0.66 molecules of CO2 will be produced).
            In the case of the experiment done with limewater the CO2 will be removed (although this is a slower process) and so the reduction in gas volume would be equal to the volume of oxygen consumed.

          • Phil – thanks

            You are correct in that the “fuel” (candle wax) in the “everyone’s kitchen” experiment is a HYDROcarbon, not just carbon. I suspect that any water vapor that results from combustion condenses in seconds. It does, nonetheless, represent a loss of O2 that is not replaced with CO2. Good catch.

            As for the post-combustion CO2, that apparently (hard to test) would dissolve in the water below, but VERY slowly. In my no-combustion test with a pure-H20/pure-CO2 interface, the water (with dissolved CO2, and a somewhat larger volume of originally pure water in the dish below) has now risen to an ASTOUNDING 85% ! It has taken about 43 hours, but now seems to have stopped. Great fun.

            -Bernie

          • You’re welcome Bernie. Since your experiment appears to be at equilibrium that implies your CO2aq concentration is about 0.005 moles/L That would be a pH of about 4.2 if you are able to measure it.

    • Yes CO2 reacts extremely quickly with water. This is the reason that torpedoes that use oxygen rather than compressed air do not leave a bubble track. The bubbles are nitrogen. The exhaust from an oxygen torpedo is all CO2 and H2O which is all dissolved in the water before the bubbles can reach the surface.

  12. From the abstract of Vals et al, 2013:
    “The authors conclude that conditions only slightly warmer than those of today would cause widespread thawing of continuous permafrost as far north as 60°N.”

    What gives?

  13. There is always the tag line “before it’s too late” or “becomes irreversible” but they left out “for our children and grandchildren” which is the most scientific of all

  14. Might we mention “heat of fusion”? 3.4 X 10^5 J/kg. As noted, almost 33 Million Cubic Kilometers of ice, Heat of fusion of melting all that ice = 1.12 X 10^25 Joules. Solar irradiance for the entire planet is 1.27 X 10^11 J/sec. So if the entire solar budget of the planet were directly applied to melting ice, it would be 8.8X10^13 seconds, which is 2.79 MILLION YEARS.

    • Using solar constant of 340 watts per square meter, I calculate 2.9 million years to melt all ice on Earth.
      That assumes all solar energy is absorbed, albedo of zero.
      Now add albedo. Albedo of ice seems to vary with surface condition, sun angle, etc.
      With albedo somewhere between 0.5 to 0.9, then the number of years to melt all ice is in the range of 5.8 million to 29 million years.

      • @ MST
        @ bwegher
        You two are not thinking this through at all.
        Consider what you are proposing. You want to divert all the solar insulation to the poles to melt ice. Fine so far. But what happens next? Without any solar insulation, the temperate regions cool, then freeze up. Then the same thing happens to the tropics. After a million years of 0.0 solar energy, all the oceans of the world will be frozen solid, nearly down to the sea floor. Geothermal, which is trivial, is the only thing preventing a total freeze up in the tropics and temperate regions. Sure, you might thaw out the polar regions, but you will do it at the expense of the tropics, which will turn out to be a much bigger problem for you.
        Really, think about this. What are you planning on doing with 15,000 ft of solid ice in the equatorial Pacific ocean basin.
        Kids these days!

    • MST,
      The value for solar irradiance is a factor 10^6 to low. The melting of ~50 million km^3 from the last glacial was realized in ~10k years.

    • This solar irradiance number is way to low.
      But you also need to bring the temp of the ice up to the melting point first…most of it is way below melting point.
      I went through it up near the top before scrolling down and reading comments.
      I came up with about 2.4 years of all incoming solar to melt all the ice.
      But it would be only just barely melted.

  15. While most of us can easily see that this [the original article] article is rediculous, there is a portion of the population that will not see through it (whether through lack of cognitive ability or via confirmation bias).

    To me, this article looks to be using much of the same strategies as old school fire-and-brimstone preachers. It’s basically. .. “the world will end and all will be cast into eternal damnation; unless you put enough in the collection tray”.

    This is quite dangerous, because fire-and-brimstone preaching works (on a portion of the population). Is the average person smart enough to see through this? I’m not sure. With the state of “education” over the last couple of decades I’d be erring to the negative.

    • Sad and true. It reminds me of tent revivals. And pre-Reformation pay-for-your-salvation rorts. And Jonestown. Climate Science seems the same. Those who study and understand it are mystified by all they don’t know for sure. Whereas those who listen to and ‘believe in’ juvenile interpretations fool themselves that they ‘get it’.

    • Agree Mark. When this all ramped up in 2007 I thought back then that geology would easily put it to bed. It hasn’t, so we’ve all failed. We have to get smarter if we want to beat this thing. No good preaching to the converted here. I’ve been trying to post in the local newspaper but it’s difficult to come up with anything simple that the average layman can understand. That’s what’s needed though. Things like:
      “While there has been many mass extinction events in the 4.6 billion year life of the planet, with many causes, not one has been the result of rising CO2 levels, neither directly nor indirectly, including resultant warming/climate change”
      I’m finding it difficult to get past the editor with anything more complex than that.
      One of my complex post did make it to print, wherein I compared CO2 and temp of today with that of the Cambrian which was ideally suited to life as evidenced by the Cambrian explosion. I bet few understood it though.
      I think simple short meaningful messages are needed and lots of them, from all of us and in places read by laymen.

  16. “Basically, their contention is 66 meters of sea level rise would would cause seawater to infiltrate all of our groundwater reservoirs. This, coupled with the melting of the ice, which holds 99% of Earth’s freshwater, would deprive us of drinking water.”

    Were 66 meters of SLR to happen overnight I expect the demand for showers and drinking water in most coastal cities to be considerably diminished the next morning.

    • There are plenty of locations which get drinking water from surface water sources at far higher elevations than 66 meters.

      And if only we had ways to make drinking water from saltwater…oh wait, we can.

      • There are plenty of aquifers right at the coastline with fresh water.
        The atolls all have freshwater lens that extend below sea level.
        Hydrostatic pressure keep salt water from getting into aquifers, unless they are pump fast that rain fall and water from elevation can flow in to them.
        So whoever said this has zero knowledge of hydrology.

  17. OMG I cannot abide “it could be worse” arguments. They are completely non sequitur and intentionally misdirecting. They are often foisted as an excuse for totally screwing up.
    My usual response: “It should be better, but you’ve made it worse.”

  18. If ocean levels rose 80 meters that would still put the Atlantic 296 meters below the bottom of my well. I’m not too worried about access to fresh water.

  19. Finally someone (in this case ANDREA SCHMITZ & BOB HUNT) have got the message! UN-IPCC Climate Science™ is all about guess what might happen if you theorize about something utterly stupid. Yes they’ll be all sorts of fictional scary things happen but they are fictional — just like the idea that atmospheric CO2 levels have a major effect on the climate.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if science got back to doing tasks that are based on reality, and not waste massive amounts of public money and time verifying the mythology of a 19th century supposition is wrong.

  20. How much fresh water is carried in the atmosphere as water vapor, clouds, and precipitation? There has to a vast amount … just curious.

  21. To melt ice we need to heat it, that is, we need to add heat energy to it.
    If we are to heat it with warmer air the air needs to be at a higher temperature than the ice at the shared surface.
    This is elementary high school physics – heat energy can only flow from a hot body to a cooler body.
    Thus the ice at the surface must be raised by the air to zero degrees C for melting to even begin.
    Over the Antarctic ice sheet, the air temperatures range from
    –11C to –40C in summer and –28C to –57C in winter.
    The air temperatures here are always below the freezing point of ice. (Check the data for yourself)
    With those air temperatures being always so much lower than zero and lower than the ice temperature
    (The Antarctic ice is typically –5C), no heat transfer to the ice can occur to raise its temperature to zero, therefore no melting can occur. For this reason, air temperatures would need to increase, not by half a degree or even two degrees as the IPCC predicts, but by tens of degrees for any melting to even begin. Since the Antarctic ice cap contains 90% of the world’s ice, any risk of warmer air causing ice cap melting or hazardous sea level rise is nonsense.

    • The Antarctic Plate’s movement is 12-14 mm per year towards the Atlantic Ocean. It will take millions of years before Antarctica leaves its present splendid position and sheds its ice. On shorter timescales some loss of marginal ice is possible.

      • Yep. From my college meteorology textbook…

        FORECASTING THE FUTURE. We can now try to decide if we are now in an interglacial stage, with other glacials to follow, or if the world has finally emerged from the Cenozoic Ice Age. According to the Milankovitch theory, fluctuations of radiation of the type shown in Fig. 16-18 must continue and therefore future glacial stages will continue. According to the theory just described, as long as the North and South Poles retain their present thermally isolated locations, the polar latitudes will be frigid; and as the Arctic Ocean keeps oscillating between ice-free and ice-covered states, glacial-interglacial climates will continue.

        Finally, regardless of which theory one subscribes to, as long as we see no fundamental change in the late Cenozoic climate trend, and the presence of ice on Greenland and Antarctica indicates that no change has occurred, we can expect that the fluctuations of the past million years will continue.

        Donn, William L. Meteorology. 4th Edition. McGraw-Hill 1975. pp 463-464

        To get the sort of warming required to exit the current ice age conditions, Antarctica has to move and end its thermal isolation. The sharp cooling at the onset of the Oligocene was primarily due to the opening of the Tasmania-Antarctica and Drake Passages and the tectonically driven thermal isolation of Antarctica.

    • abc.com.au/news ran an utterly stupid item yesterday about a sudden finding of lots of warm water under antarctica causing rapid melting and causing the ice shelves to get weak n snap off
      ie implying the recent berg snapping off that shelf to be CC caused not a normal function of nature oceans n waves etc
      very careful ignoring of the live Erebus and all the thermal vents
      this sort of crap is NOT by any means “accidentally dishonest or misleading”
      its damned well done with serious intent to mislead and scare idiots!

  22. Rev 8:12  The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night. 

    The ice age cometh then

    Rev 16:8  The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. 
    Rev 16:9  They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory. 

    Proper global warming. The eco nuts will get their wish.

  23. Thanks for posting this.

    I am so scared.

    I just sent the “Earth Spinning Sideways one to ScienceAlert’s facebook page. They featured “all the ice melting thing” a few days ago. I thought they had better feature this one too.

    https://www.facebook.com/ScienceAlert/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

    A few folks had some fun raising the indignation of the true believers. But all the commotion died down after a day or two. They can’t be too worried.

  24. “El’gygytgyn”

    You should see a doctor about that!

    Regarding the shutdown of the Gulf Stream due to the influx of fresh water. That supposition shows a profound ignorance of how the Gulf stream works. Nothing short of stopping the Earth’s rotation would do it.

    • Even if the Earth stopped rotating, the momentum of the ocean gyres would keep the currents flowing for a long time.
      Of course, if the Earth stopped spinning, we would have bigger problems than the gulf stream.
      The equatorial bulge, for one thing, would no longer have support, and my guess is that the ensuing adjustment would cause worldwide catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis.
      Considering how many world ending disasters are not pure fantasy, the whatiffism in this article is truly stupid.

      • Of course, if the Earth stopped spinning, we would have bigger problems than the gulf stream.
        The equatorial bulge, for one thing, would no longer have support, and my guess is that the ensuing adjustment would cause worldwide catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis.

        don’t worry. if the earth stopped spinning, we’d all continue to move along at anything up to 1,000 mph and wouldn’t have much time to worry about anything else.

        • Yeah, that might be the most immediate issue.
          Anyone standing right on one of the poles would be fine I think.
          There would be the longer term issue of half the world roasting and the other half freezing solid, though

  25. So…you put more water vapor into the atmosphere, and it is still transporting the same amount of heat upwards (unless you argue the Sun’s output is changed by 1 C warming on the Earth), and somehow this turns everything into deserts instead of increases the amount of rain?

    How stupid are these people?

  26. “Normally, it would take hundreds to thousands of years for it all to melt away. But what if something happened that caused a massive global melt overnight?”

    Nope. Only took around 8000-9000 years from 15000 years ago for the sea level off Hallett Cove in South Australia to rise 130M according to the geology and the aboriginals survived. Still I guess you could call that overnight in geological terms. 7 metres and I’ll be seafront and make a killing but at 1.6-1.7 mm/year I suspect it will be the undertakers that clean up instead but I do like optimism.

    • ““Normally, it would take hundreds to thousands of years for it all to melt away. But what if something happened that caused a massive global melt overnight?”

      Well we wouldn’t have to worry about that. The massive amount of energy required to melt all the ice on the planet overnight would also burn off the atmosphere, boil the oceans, and kill all life on the planet.

  27. It seems a bit presumptuous to go against the USGS, but that report about potential sea level rise is completely unrealistic with respect to West Antarctica. It does not take into account that much of that ice is below sea-level and that the meltwater would to a large extent fill out the space formerly occupied by that ice. A realistic figure is about 5 meters sea-level rise for a complete meltdown. A more realistic figure, where there would still be ice-caps on the mountains in West Antarctica is about 3 meters:

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/24428838_Reassessment_of_the_Potential_Sea-Level_Rise_from_a_Collapse_of_the_West_Antarctic_Ice_Sheet

    And there is very strong evidence that highlands in West Antarctica have not been ice-free for a very long time:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4742792/

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277379111001223

    And there is really zero concrete evidence for a collapse of the WAIS during MIS 5 (or 11 for that matter). The ANDRILL 1B shows eight major glacial cycles during the Middle and Late Pleistocene when ice cover in the Ross Sea was never appreciably less than now. So, no cycle is missing. The last time the McMurdo area was open water (necessary for, but not sufficient to prove, a WAIS collapse) was during the MIS 31/33 “superinterglacial” about 1.05 million years ago.

    I admit that it isn’t easy to find that out, because while the Pliocene and Miocene parts of the core, which do show several ice-free interglacial intervals, have been copiously described and published (in Nature of course), the Pleistocene part has been discreetly buried. It is however described and figured, though rather briefly, in the original publication of the core:

    https://www.nap.edu/read/12168/chapter/8#77

  28. “That might not sound like much, but say goodbye to that mini European ice age, and even rivers and lakes around the world. They’d evaporate from the higher temperatures and cause mass droughts and desert-like climates.”

    Much of this and all the other horrible things should have happened during the last interglacial which was much warmer than this one, but they didn’t. On the other hand Sahara almost did disappear. A bit odd that.

    And there were monkeys in Germany, hippopotami in England, lions in Alaska, tapirs in Pennsylvania and capybaras in Florida. And larch forests on the New Siberian Islands. And most of the permafrost melted. But methane in the atmosphere didn’t increase, and the Gulf Stream didn’t stop, and the Greenland ice didn’t all melt (well, maybe a third did melt, in 10,000 years with 5-8 degrees warmer than now)

  29. Another factor when it comes to melting ice, or anything else, is thermal conductivity.
    There is more than enough heat in a hot kitchen oven to melt a cube of ice.
    But that does not mean a cube of ice will melt instantly when it is placed in an oven.
    A round ball will melt slower than a cube or slab.
    It will melt faster in a convection oven (one with a small fan inside the oven).
    Faster if it is on a metal cookie sheet rather than an initially cold ceramic plate.
    The thing about things is, just being able to imagine them does not make them real.
    As every kid learns from being told scary stories before bed.
    Maybe adults and teens believe this nonsense because their parents did not read to them.
    My mom used to read us HP Lovecraft

  30. I reposted this, adding two notes at the end.

    (1) About that “melting all the ice in the world.”

    Greenhouse gases are warming the world, but chilling Antarctica. Here’s why” by Sid Perkins in Science, 19 July 2018. This describes a new study: “Unmasking the negative greenhouse effect over the Antarctic Plateau” by Sergio A. Sejas et al. in Climate and Atmospheric Science, 17 July 2018. Don’t expect the Antarctic ice cap to melt in any visible future.

    (2)  Fake news drives out real news – because it is more useful.

    These two articles were widely reposted. For example, at MSN News, Democratic Underground, Earth News Report, and Science Daily Press. From MSN it was syndicated to local papers. My wife read it in our local Iowa newspaper. Control of the news media is a powerful lever with which to control a nation. A thousand times more people will see these two stories than will see their debunkings. Propaganda works.

    • This is one of the absolutely weirdest thing about “climate science”, how they can take something that has been well known for decades and blow it up as a big new discovery. This “negative greenhouse effect” has been known since the first IR spectra from the NIMBUS satellites in the 60’s:

      http://members.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/spectra.gif

      It is easy to sea that the antarctic spectrum has higher radiation temperatures within the absorption bands, i e cooling.

      And of course it isn’t negative greenhouse effect at all, it is quite ordinary greenhouse effect, but because of the semi-permanent thermal inversion in Antarctica it cools rather than heats.

  31. “For starters, the potential sea level rise is more like 80 meters.”

    Does that account for thermal contraction resulting from dumping that much cold water in the oceans?

    My understanding is that water is densest just a few degrees above the freezing point.

  32. Actually, I am pretty sure that all of snow and ice on earth will melt in about 5 billion years, when the sun will become a red giant. However, sea levels will fall, because they will boil off at the same time.

  33. Ozonebust

    “If I remember correctly the current rate of sea level rise annually is 1.28mm per year – is that figure correct ?”

    No it isn’t, but your error actually is not so dramatic. (That might change in the future, however.)

    The rate depends on the measurement period.
    The reason is that the increase is not quite linear.

    For the period 1880-2018, you have about 1.5 mm/yr as measured by tide gauges; for 1993-2018, you have about 3 mm/yr as measured by tide gauges AND satellite altimetry:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rzU5uoo-JFQoFOvKFQfDQliS5P0-VeCC/view

    Some think of course that this stronger increase is due to tide gauge evaluation having been ‘mal’adapted to satellite data. This is nonsense.

    The best way to discover this is to compute, out of the tide gauge data, the trends for consecutive, 5-year distant periods, starting with 1883-2018 and ending with 1998-2018 (all in mm/yr):

    1883(-2018): 1.40 ± 0.02
    1888: 1.45 ± 0.02
    1893: 1.49 ± 0.02
    1898: 1.54 ± 0.02
    1903: 1.59 ± 0.02
    1908: 1.60 ± 0.02
    1913: 1.68 ± 0.02
    1918: 1.75 ± 0.02
    1923: 1.78 ± 0.02
    1928: 1.79 ± 0.02
    1933: 1.78 ± 0.02
    1938: 1.74 ± 0.02
    1943: 1.69 ± 0.03
    1948: 1.67 ± 0.03
    1953: 1.76 ± 0.03
    1958: 1.88 ± 0.03
    1963: 2.05 ± 0.04
    1968: 2.15 ± 0.04
    1973: 2.33 ± 0.05
    1978: 2.55 ± 0.05
    1983: 2.78 ± 0.06
    1988: 3.03 ± 0.07
    1993: 3.07 ± 0.09
    1998: 2.96 ± 0.12

    Here you clearly see that the faster increase did not start by magic as the satellite altimetry stuff was introduced.

    *
    Sources:

    – sat:
    https://podaac-tools.jpl.nasa.gov/drive/files/allData/merged_alt/L2/TP_J1_OSTM/global_mean_sea_level/GMSL_TPJAOS_4.2_199209_201908.txt – (link unfortunately changes all the time)

    – surf:
    https://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/rlr.monthly.data/rlr_monthly.zip – (fixed link)

    Rgds
    J.-P. D.

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