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Loss of big Antarctic glaciers inevitable

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  • Loss of big Antarctic glaciers inevitable

    The big news from yesterday seems worth a comment. Two takes, one an overview, one with some more technical details:
    http://www.nature.com/news/key-west-...ppably-1.15202
    http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/...l-but-certain/

    The gist:
    In Western Antarctica, there's a big pile of ice that sits in a basin that's below sea level. If ocean waters invade that basin, then the entire thing is likely to disintegrate. Based on the amount of ice that's currently above sea level, the total rise in ocean levels could be between 2-4 meters.

    Right now, a handful of glaciers block the ocean from getting into the basin. The new results describe how those glaciers are decaying, some retreating by nearly a kilometer a year, and with very few features like hills or ridges for them to latch on to. For the next century or so, they'll probably retreat slowly, but sometime within the next 200 years, their edges will reach the downward slope into the basin, at which point the retreat will become rapid.
    "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

  • #2
    yeah but we have to remember this is still a hypothesis rather than a forgone conclusion.
    A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
    George Bernard Shaw

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    • #3
      I wonder if I should invest in some cheap Antarctica beach front property?

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      • #4
        It's a hypothesis from the same people who claimed the the Arctic could be ice-free by 2013.
        Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

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        I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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        • #5
          Bear in mind that this particular ice loss is expected to place over the next several hundred years.

          It's one of many changes taking place in the present, but just one of many; and not the most significant.

          Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
          It's a hypothesis from the same people who claimed the the Arctic could be ice-free by 2013.
          No, it isn't.

          Cheers -- sylas

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Catholicity View Post
            yeah but we have to remember this is still a hypothesis rather than a forgone conclusion.
            Which part do you consider a hypothesis?
            "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

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            • #7
              Definition of hyothesis as in Noun: 3. an unproved theory; a conjecture
              or the antecedent of a conditional proposition. or
              a mere assumption or guess.
              at best its an unproven theory.
              A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
              George Bernard Shaw

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Catholicity View Post
                Definition of hyothesis as in Noun: 3. an unproved theory; a conjecture
                or the antecedent of a conditional proposition. or
                a mere assumption or guess.
                at best its an unproven theory.
                Sorry, let me clarify. I know what a hypothesis is. I'm wondering what about this particular news you consider hypothetical. It's based on several decades of glacial dynamics and satellite imagery of both the glaciers and the underlying terrain. There's nothing hypothetical about their retreat, or the existence of the large basin behind it, or the fact that floating ice tends to break up much more quickly than grounded ice, etc. etc. So, i'm just trying to nail down what you consider the hypothesis so (assuming you're interested, which i took your comment to indicate) we might have an intelligent conversation about it.
                "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
                  Which part do you consider a hypothesis?
                  Any idea that includes models to predict an event decades into the future is an hypothesis. The testing of which is "wait and see" unless you can build a time machine.

                  Why does the idea of this being an hypothesis bother you?

                  K54

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                  • #10
                    What has been the average annual temperature in the West Antarctic in the past decade? I assume there are temperature measuring stations at various locations in that region. What about the local sea water temperature?

                    K54

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
                      The big news from yesterday seems worth a comment. Two takes, one an overview, one with some more technical details:
                      http://www.nature.com/news/key-west-...ppably-1.15202
                      http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/...l-but-certain/

                      The gist:
                      In Western Antarctica, there's a big pile of ice that sits in a basin that's below sea level. If ocean waters invade that basin, then the entire thing is likely to disintegrate. Based on the amount of ice that's currently above sea level, the total rise in ocean levels could be between 2-4 meters.

                      Right now, a handful of glaciers block the ocean from getting into the basin. The new results describe how those glaciers are decaying, some retreating by nearly a kilometer a year, and with very few features like hills or ridges for them to latch on to. For the next century or so, they'll probably retreat slowly, but sometime within the next 200 years, their edges will reach the downward slope into the basin, at which point the retreat will become rapid.
                      The fact is, there is nothing we can do about this. Just try and deal with higher sea levels when/if they come.
                      Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by seer View Post
                        The fact is, there is nothing we can do about this. Just try and deal with higher sea levels when/if they come.
                        And if we are lucky, Washington DC and Hollywood both will become underwater theme parks.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                          And if we are lucky, Washington DC and Hollywood both will become underwater theme parks.
                          If it happens over one to two hundred years there is plenty of time to move in coastal structures.
                          Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by seer View Post
                            If it happens over one to two hundred years there is plenty of time to move in coastal structures.
                            Well maybe we can hope for some tsunami's when the ice sheets fall into the sea.

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                            • #15
                              AFAIK, the USN still lands heavy-load C-130s at McMurdo Base (70 degrees west longitude) on the Ross Sea in the cold season. They take icebreaker ships to break up the rough ice and let it freeze over smooth. The sea ice achieves a thickness sufficient to support the transports.

                              Confused. Anyone have access to average temperature data?

                              K54

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