Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Ten Year Study in Antarctica Casts New Light on the Impact of Global Warming and Rising Sea Levels

More Evidence of a Problem – Or Just Another Part of the Conspiracy?

For those who think the problem of global warming and rising sea levels that will be associated with it is a recent issue of concern, there is this.

Thirty-five years ago, a scientist named John H. Mercer issued a warning. By then it was already becoming clear that human emissions would warm the earth, and Dr. Mercer had begun thinking deeply about the consequences.

His paper, in the journal Nature, was titled “West Antarctic Ice Sheet and CO2 Greenhouse Effect: A Threat of Disaster.” In it, Dr. Mercer pointed out the unusual topography of the ice sheet sitting over the western part of Antarctica. Much of it is below sea level, in a sort of bowl, and he said that a climatic warming could cause the whole thing to degrade rapidly on a geologic time scale, leading to a possible rise in sea level of 16 feet.

And now another piece of the puzzle is revealed.  This has happened before, but a long time ago.

NASA, via Reuters
The fast-retreating Sheldon Glacier in Antarctica. A collapse of a polar ice sheet could result in a jump in sea level.

An intriguing new paper comes from Michael J. O’Leary of Curtin University in Australia and five colleagues scattered around the world. Dr. O’Leary has spent more than a decade exploring the remote western coast of Australia, considered one of the best places in the world to study sea levels of the past.

The paper, published July 28 in Nature Geoscience, focuses on a warm period in the earth’s history that preceded the most recent ice age. In that epoch, sometimes called the Eemian, the planetary temperature was similar to levels we may see in coming decades as a result of human emissions, so it is considered a possible indicator of things to come.

And the scary thing . . .

Dr. O’Leary’s group confirmed something we pretty much already knew. In the warmer world of the Eemian, sea level stabilized for several thousand years at about 10 to 12 feet above modern sea level.

The interesting part is what happened after that. Dr. O’Leary’s group found what they consider to be compelling evidence that near the end of the Eemian, sea level jumped by another 17 feet or so, to settle at close to 30 feet above the modern level, before beginning to fall as the ice age set in.

Gosh, what could cause a sudden 17 foot increase in sea levels.  Well it could have been the work of the devil, but here is a more convincing rationale.

if the work does hold up, the implications are profound. The only possible explanation for such a large, rapid jump in sea level is the catastrophic collapse of a polar ice sheet, on either Greenland or Antarctica.

Dr. O’Leary is not prepared to say which; figuring that out is the group’s next project. But a 17-foot rise in less than a thousand years, a geologic instant, has to mean that one or both ice sheets contain some profound instability that can be set off by a warmer climate.

That, of course, augurs poorly for humans. Scientists at Stanford calculated recently that human emissions are causing the climate to change many times faster than at any point since the dinosaurs died out. We are pushing the climate system so hard that, if the ice sheets do have a threshold of some kind, we stand a good chance of exceeding it.

Okay, notice the qualified, “if the work does hold up”.  See in real science research is published and then subjected to scrutiny by other scientists.  So this is so far just the first step, but given the credentials of the authors, the ten plus years studying the issue and the climate science behind all of this, it is surely more likely than not that the research will be proven to be valid.

Of, and of course there is this from a prominent member of Congress,


August 27, 2013

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"I am a global warming denier. I don't deny that."

-- Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), quoted by 
Tulsa World, adding that he thinks the evidence points that the Earth is moving into a "mini-ice age."


You know, a person who absolutely no training or experience in the subject.  In other words, your basic ignoramus.

 Of course, none of the research will convince conservatives that the whole thing is just a big world wide hoax to have government start regulating emissions and air pollution.  But this Forum has received a copy of a policy paper that describes how conservatives would confront the issue if it does prove true.  Here are their six possible responses to the problem that are under active consideration.  None of the proposals would be implemented unless and until 6 million people drowned from rising sea levels.

  1. Pass a law forbidding the sea level from rising along the coast of the United States.  In the spirit of freedom for other nations, the sea level would be permitted to rise along the Mexican, Canadian, European, African and Asian coasts.  Republicans in North Carolina are already working to implement this on a test basis.

  1. Set up a Sea Level Commission comprised of members from the Fox News Team  that would have to approve any sea level rise more than six inches above its current level.

  1. Pass a Constitutional amendment that would allow the sea level to rise only next to ocean front property owned by gays and lesbians. (a footnote says this is probably what God intended anyway.)

  1. Declare a moratorium on any rise in the sea level until a House subcommittee has investigated the issue and the sea level has responded to Congressional subpoenas.

  1. Form a select government research group headed by Dr. Strangelove to study the problem.  Other group members would be Major General Buck Turgidson, Brig. General Jack D. Ripper and Col. Bat Guano.  The memo says these men are fully capable of debunking any scientific study that conflicts with conservative dogma.

  1. Give Halliburton a no-bid contract to build 1,000 Noah type Arks to house Republican lawmakers and their families.  The $70 billion cost would be paid for by additional cuts in food stamps and other nutritional programs for low income children, whom the memo says, would probably drown anyway.

Yep, that’s what they probably want to do.  Everybody remember where you saw it first. 

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