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Huge Freshwater Bulge In Arctic Ocean

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the lumpy-planet dept.

Earth 382

New submitter turkeyfish writes "UK scientists are reporting today in the journal Nature Geoscience that a huge bulge of freshwater is forming in the Western Arctic Ocean caused by a large gyre of freshwater. The gyre appears to indicate that the ice is becoming thin enough over the Arctic Ocean that the wind is beginning to affect the motion of water under the ice. A sudden release of this water or its emergence to the surface will greatly accelerate the melting of the remaining polar oceanic ice and likely alter oceanic circulation in the North Atlantic."

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I came. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38799767)

You're welcome.

How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799785)

This is all going according to the long-term global warming forecast laid out by Al Gore in his book and movie "An Inconvenient Truth" where ice at the poles melting means more water and less ice in the ocean which leads to flooding in coastal areas... and it all goes downhill from there.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (4, Funny)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799833)

Will liberals stop at nothing to destroy the American Way of Life? </sarcasm>

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (2)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799845)

Well, the sooner it happens the faster people will not be able to bitch because they have salt water in their mouth.
Seriously, the back and forth wares me out. Once it happens, at least people who are still alive can tell others. "Told you so".
Ironically, holding on to a floatation device....

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (4, Informative)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799895)

Melting sea ice won't lead to a significant increase in ocean levels, it's the land ice you have to worry about.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799949)

Like the Greenland glaciers.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (-1, Troll)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800173)

Like the Greenland glaciers.

Right. The Greenland glaciers melting may be bad. Now, would you so kindly tell me how a fresh water plume will affect glaciers ON LAND?

Next, I need some clarification. I understand that glaciers melting on land may rise sea levels and be bad. And I understand that melting ice caps will cause the ocean currents to cease, making the poles freeze while everything else bakes. And I understand that rising CO2 levels trap heat causing the ice to melt... but wait a minute

First, if the ocean currents cease because there is no ice at the poles and poles freeze over, won't that cause the currents to start back up again. See, the currents are caused by freezing water, not frozen water. When salt water freezes, it loses its salt, making the rest of the unfrozen water saltier. That water falls and has nowhere to go but toward the equator. These currents help balance the climate, keeping the tropics from overheating and keeping the northern latitudes from freezing over too much. Which brings me back to my main point; if the poles freeze over due to no current, won't that kick start the currents again? And to YOUR point, glaciers melting over land will have little to no impact on ocean currents, because, as has been previously, stated, GreenLAND is LAND.

Finally, I thought it was CO2 from our SUV's and coal fired plants causing glaciers to melt. Now it's fresh water? Are you telling me there are aspects of the climate that we didn't consider before giving unlimited power over our lives to our governments?

Also note that "global warming" and "climate change" are not found in TFA, but don't let that stop all of you from blaming climate change and global warming on your own... you know, because the scientists are right, even when they never said it.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (3, Informative)

guruevi (827432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800367)

It won't affect glaciers on land. I don't see where you get that. The glaciers on land are melting too by the way. The glaciers on land melting will cause the sea levels to rise (Antarctica etc.).

The currents will never stand still however they will become a lot less active causing, as you said, the tropics to overheat and the north pole to freeze over. Yes, eventually nature will balance itself but this process will take a really, really long time while generations of people will either bake or freeze (depending on where they live) and the process will be violent.

Finally, it's indeed the CO2 from SUV's and coal plants that causes glaciers to melt but as the glaciers melt they also release the CO2 stored in/under them. Water acted as a sink to CO2 before the last ice age after which it froze and got captured in the ice. It's basically a positive feedback cycle which will only accelerate the process faster.

Climate change is real, global warming is real and the cause for this is real. This has been established by practically all scientists in the field. Denying it is as futile and idiotic as the few that still refute the theory of evolution based on their personal religious or political ideas.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800505)

Finally, it's indeed the CO2 from SUV's and coal plants that causes glaciers to melt but as the glaciers melt they also release the CO2 stored in/under them.

I mostly agree with what you said except for bits about SUV's etc. This is more a smokescreen diversion from the real problems. For instance buy local products instead of imported cheap crap. The link at the bottom indicates that running one particularly large cargo ship supposedly pollutes as much as 50 million cars each year (likely a gross exaggeration but still worth considering)

http://www.gizmag.com/shipping-pollution/11526/

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (4, Interesting)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800525)

Climate change is real, global warming is real and the cause for this is real. This has been established by practically all scientists in the field. Denying it is as futile and idiotic as the few that still refute the theory of evolution based on their personal religious or political ideas.

Just curious... Can you tell me how many of these scientists predicted a fresh water plume, stirred by iceberg moved by high winds, would cause more ice to melt? I can't seem to find that prediction anywhere. I did, however find that high winds will cause the water to cool quicker via evaporation, which should have fixed that pesky iceberg problem, made the water saltier, thereby fixing that overabundance of fresh water problem that started this whole discussion. That was on the Wiki page for Thermohaline circulation. It says, "Wind moving over the water also produces a great deal of evaporation, leading to a decrease in temperature, called evaporative cooling. Evaporation removes only water molecules, resulting in an increase in the salinity of the seawater left behind, and thus an increase in the density of the water mass. In the Norwegian Sea evaporative cooling is predominant, and the sinking water mass, the North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW), fills the basin and spills southwards through crevasses in the submarine sills that connect Greenland, Iceland and Great Britain. It then flows very slowly into the deep abyssal plains of the Atlantic, always in a southerly direction."

Also, is CO2 the only gas stored under glaciers? I mean, if the atmospheric CO2 concentration at the time the glaciers formed was so high that releasing a fraction of that gas would be enough to heat the world... wouldn't the planet have been too hot to form these glaciers in the first place?

I'm not trying to be smart ass, but if you don't question, you never learn. And you never EVER give up your freedom of the word of someone else without at least asking a few questions and pointing out gaping logical holes.

doh. (4, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800405)

Right. The Greenland glaciers melting may be bad. Now, would you so kindly tell me how a fresh water plume will affect glaciers ON LAND?

noone would need to tell you what will result when that happens - if you had used your brain to think this more than just 2-3 seconds.

freshwater plume forming means that there is some source that is supplying that freshwater. freshwater, therefore, will grow unless the current trend changes. and when it grows, it is going to affect EVERYthing in that ecosystem. especially arctic is populated and dependent on endless plankton that would not take the transition from salt water to fresh water well. ALL of these creatures and the higher ones are parts of the climate there with their activity and byproducts. and when the sea gets affected with that ecosystem change, it will also affect the land microclimate.

Finally, I thought it was CO2 from our SUV's and coal fired plants causing glaciers to melt. Now it's fresh water?

so, in light of the above, just stop posing funky statements without thinking for a few seconds.

there is no easily detectable dynamic of CLIMATE CHANGE. the climate, will change with average global warming. other than the measurable average global warming of a mere 1-3 degrees - which is so pathetic a difference in daily life that you would not feel it by the way - it is a totally chaotic system ; because the average 1-3 degrees worldwide is the result of all temperature averages averaged worldwide - from minus 50s to high 50s.

there is no telling what will happen to your microclimate in your locale as the globe warms up on average. you may remain unaffected, or get hit by freak weather or conditions.

Clarification. (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800419)

Uncertainty. It may make sense there is a balance equation between the frozen state of the poles and the existence of ocean currents. I don't think that anybody knows what the 'time to rebalance' is.

For example, it maybe just long enough to extinguish civilization. At that point it is moot.

That is what I find funny about the various prognostications about how everything will/won't be alright as we consume buffer after buffer in this system. It is like honking your horn when you really need to hit the brakes.

Level is not the danger (5, Insightful)

tizan (925212) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800153)

It is the breaking of the well established currents.
More water in the system will destroy some of the well established ocean currents that drives the weather on the planet and have caused some stability for the last 15000 years or so.

Re:Level is not the danger (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800237)

sorry, no MOD points but what you said is the key. I just posted above too.

LoB

Re:Level is not the danger (-1, Troll)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800409)

"More water in the system will destroy some of the well established ocean currents that drives the weather on the planet and have caused some stability for the last 15000 years or so."

Um... no. It has been warmer than this before (during the Medieval Warming Period for example, which did exist despite rhetoric from certain fanatics), and no doubt at some time it will again. Humanity did not die off; in fact there is every reason to believe they thrived during those times.

I really wish people would stop panicking over what amounts to very little.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (0)

akilduff (2523374) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800167)

Won't melting sea ice lead to a decrease? On a small scale, it's the same as ice melting in a cup of water.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (3, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800219)

I read that too but I think it'll be a big game changer if the water circulation pump in the Atlantic gets messed up. I'd already read that lots of fresh water were are already detected further south than ever before. Lots of fresh water further south changes the current layering of water due to different densities of fresh vs salty water and that's what could screw things up.

a change in those currents means a change in water temps and that means a change in weather patterns.

It sure does seem like lots of stuff is melting all over the place and faster than "expected".

LoB

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800395)

A not-insignificant component of sea-level rise is attributable to expansion of water with temperature (above 4C). Melting sea ice is bound to contribute to that.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (1)

josephjall (2558068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800501)

If the fresh water disrupts the North Atlantic currents like the summary says, there is going to be plenty of sea ice, and land ice. I don't think flooding is something we are going to need to worry about.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800575)

Melting sea ice won't lead to a significant increase in ocean levels, it's the land ice you have to worry about.

It will, however, significantly affect currents and local water and air temperatures. It will also substantially alter the weather in the area. I don't think the Inuit care what ice is melting if it means their traditional way of life is gone forever.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38799951)

Ice occupies more space than water. Melting of sea ice results in a drop in ocean levels, not an increase. only melting of land based ice results in a rise in sea levels.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800003)

NIce try troll. You're wrong for a whole boat-load of reasons.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (1)

SammyIAm (1348279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800059)

Well he's half right. Purely sea-based ice will displace as much sea-water as the mass of the ice itself. When the ice melts, it will become the same mass of sea-water that it would have been displaced while it was ice. The net water-level change would be pretty close to nil.

Though now that I think about it, does salt make the sea water effectively more-dense than freshwater in terms of the amount of ice it can float? And if so, will the water from the ice occupy slightly more space if it's fresh-water? Perhaps there would be a very small rise in ocean level...

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800161)

Except that the fraction of the ice that is floating above the water is the volume it shrinks when it melts.

There's a second order effect due to higher density of the salt water, so there will be small net sea level rise,
and will also cause reduced atmospheric pressure due to less volume occupied which could bulge the surface,
but these effects won't flood your coast anytime soon.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (4, Interesting)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800233)

Ice occupies more space than water. Melting of sea ice results in a drop in ocean levels, not an increase. only melting of land based ice results in a rise in sea levels.

But ice also floats on water. If you have ice floating in a glass of water, and the ice melts, the level of liquid stays the same.

But salty water is more buoyant than freshwater! So the icebergs would sit a tad lower as the salinity of the water decreases.

But TFA says it's mostly caused by the wind gyre that sucks everything up with a low pressure system. And the main effect has nothing to do with rise or fall of ocean levels, but with ocean currents that keep the North Atlantic relatively warm, but could plunge it into an ice age if the currents reversed (as was the case during the last ice age). Fun and amazing stuff.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (1)

fizzer06 (1500649) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800527)

Well then, we must get the government to do something about those ocean currents. No matter what the cost. /sarc

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (4, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800001)

Well, not yet, and that's from somebody who thinks that anthropogenic climate change is probably a true hypothesis.

For one thing the thinning or melting of sea ice itself has no direct effect on sea level -- just like melting ice cubes don't change the level of water in a glass. The picture the article paints is far more complex. In a nutshell, thinning Arctic ice may allow winds to mix colder surface water with warmer deep water. This would cause more ice thinning faster than changes in the atmosphere (if any) could drive change. Any effect on sea level would be indirect.

What I'm much more concerned with is human responses to this development -- or rather *political* responses. Russia is making territorial claims in the Arctic Ocean based on some creative interpretation of international law, because they think that climate change may open the Arctic to resource exploration. If they find oil up there, there could be a polar conflict between Russia the US and strained relations between Canada and the US.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800469)

Isn't it odd that there would be oil anywhere near the poles? It would mean that area had to have had a massive amount of plant and animal life there at some point in the past. Exactly how hot was the Earth back then?!

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800549)

It was hot enough for jungle ferns to have been found under the ice.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800579)

And just think, when it gets hot enough for ferns to grow at the south pole again, the deniers will be reveling in the amazing growing season and claiming that the farmers crying about their crops dying off from the scorching heat smack in the middle of it are just liberal crybabies needing their nappy changed by big momma gubbamint.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (1, Flamebait)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800067)

But Al Gore lives in a big house and lies about inventing the Internet, so he's a big weenee and we don't have to listen to him lalalalalalalalalala

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (0)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800271)

But Al Gore lives in a big house and lies about inventing the Internet, so he's a big weenee and we don't have to listen to him lalalalalalalalalala

You left out his wife's backing of censorship:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parents_Music_Resource_Center [wikipedia.org]

and, about the house, he feels real bad about that, and has bought all sorts of green credits to make up for it:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/gorehome.asp [snopes.com]

Meanwhile, anyone who doesn't see why transforming the Arctic from ice (white and highly reflective) to liquid (darker in color and absorbs solar energy in the top 10 meters), might want to think about how many white cows would have to be replaced with black cows [google.com] to have the same net effect. (Answer: even in post-McDonalds America, there aren't enough cows to equal the surface area of the Arctic ice cap)

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800533)

WTF?! Why would cows-in-america be an easier to grasp or more relevant number, than say the percentage of Earth's surface? Or perhaps better, the percentage projected into a plane normal to the sun (thus the portion of total insolation one might expect it to control; multiply that by albedo difference, and you're starting to reacha first-order approximation to the effect)?

Cows have nothing to do with it, unless there's some weird crackpot suggesting we grow white cows to stop global warming? If so, why are you addressing your argument to him/her... I would be getting the fuck away from that kook.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800087)

Sure, when you only look at data that supports your thesis and ignore data that doesn't.

Meh.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (2)

eggstasy (458692) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800099)

How much, in total, can ocean levels rise if all ice melts, including Antarctica and Greenland?
I've read more than one estimate, but no real authoritative source.

How much warmer does the atmosphere need to be?
Any idea on how longer it would take, worst-case-scenario? 100 years?

Thanks.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (3, Informative)

countach (534280) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800245)

I think its about 100 metres, which means half the current land masses would be underwater. As I understand it, this would be likely to take a thousand years to play out.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (-1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800569)

You "think" it's about 100 meters. Now, try finding a credible source. The most credible source I have seen says .3 meters. Look again - that's not three meters. It's three tenths of a meter.

Either you pulled that 100 meters out of your ass, or you remember it from Water World.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800127)

Reminds me a lot of of Two Days Before The Day After Tomorrow.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800267)

Sciencedammit, this is why I will forever remain AC.

Re:How "An Inconvenient Truth" can it get (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800519)

The only phenomena that can be attributed to Al Gore is a huge electricity gyre in the vicinity of his house because he's using 22 times as much as an average US family (or if you like 65 times as much as a European family.

Rubbish from alarmists!!! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38799791)

This is all rubbish! The planet is freezing up and we are approaching an ice age.
The fresh water can freeze faster than the salt water, so it will freeze back in a few months.

Re:Rubbish from alarmists!!! (2)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799831)

The fresh water can freeze faster than the salt water, so it will freeze back in a few months.

Yeah. Especially that it's winter now. And for the rest of the year the Arctic is going to get warmer if anything.

Re:Rubbish from alarmists!!! (0)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800061)

Yeah. Especially that it's winter now.

(just can't stop myself) [Citation needed]

(duck)

Re:Rubbish from alarmists!!! (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799859)

Citation needed.

Re:Rubbish from alarmists!!! (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799909)

Fresh water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius and seawater water freezes at about -2 degrees C, therefore more freshwater would equal more ice formation.
4th grade science.

Don't panic. (3, Funny)

Loopy (41728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799797)

Note the large, friendly letters.

Question seems to be, has this ever happened before? If it has, how would we know?

Re:Don't panic. (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799837)

Maybe it happened around the end of the Ice Age... which is exactly the problem here. Ice melting and dumping into the ocean will trigger a chain reaction.

Re:Don't panic. (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799871)

which is exactly the problem here. Ice melting and dumping into the ocean will trigger a chain reaction.

and the earth will go supercritical.

Re:Don't panic. (2)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799999)

Or maybe it happened in 2001, since the only started monitoring this in 2002 when the new satellite went online.

Re:Don't panic. (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799905)

Important addendum to the question:

Has this ever happened before? If so, what were the effects?

You seem to be implying that this might not be a problem because it could have happened before without us noticing. Maybe you're right. Or maybe it happened hundreds of thousands of years ago and caused some massive flooding that wasn't necessarily significant in an uncivilized world, but would be bad news for places like NYC.

I agree it would be foolish to panic, but we should investigate what the effects of this might be, and how to best mitigate them if they are unpleasant.

Re:Don't panic. (-1, Troll)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800587)

Forget the massive flooding thing. If/when all the ice in the world has melted and run into the ocean, the ocean won't go up much more than a foot. That's ALL the ice in the world, land and sea.

As for what happened - the dinosaurs ruled the earth, so you would have to ask their historians. Our historians weren't even a gleam in a chimpanzee's eye yet.

Re:Don't panic. (5, Insightful)

sincewhen (640526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799915)

No, that is not the question.

The question is, what could happen, how likely is it, and how would it affect us.

I don't know if you are being a denier, but I'm now getting more tired of hearing from the "I don't have to care if it's Nature" crowd as I am from the "Oh no we are hurting Gaia, humans deserve to die out" crowd.

Why can't we all agree that shit is happening and we should investigate what to do about it?

Re:Don't panic. (1)

spud603 (832173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800213)

Thank you. Regardless of the origin of the changes to the climate, they are real and potentially devastating. If they are largely caused by our behavior, then maybe we can help mitigate by changing our behavior asap. But that doesn't change the fact that we'll all want to figure out something to do about the changes as they're already being realized.

Re:Don't panic. (3, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800333)

Why can't we all agree that shit is happening and we should investigate what to do about it?

Because it has become an article of nigh-religious faith among a large number of otherwise rational people to insist that it's not happening, or if it happening it's not our fault, or even if it is happening and it's our fault there's nothing we can do about it. Sometimes all three at once. As the saying goes, "You can't reason people out of a position they didn't reason themselves into."

Re:Don't panic. (1)

Radworker (227548) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800461)

Put the gun down and call the suicide hotline.

Re:Don't panic. (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799955)

The gyre appears to indicate that the ice is becoming thin enough over the Arctic Ocean that the wind is beginning to affect the motion of water under the ice.

I'm quite certain that not only has this not happened before, its not happening now. The summary must not state what the article states, because wind is not magical stuff that teleports through ice in order to transfer its momentum to water underneath it.

Re:Don't panic. (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800023)

I don't even need to read the article to recognize the flaw in your thinking.

Wind blows water in the parts of the ocean not covered by ice. That water pushes on other water, which is under ice. Tada! Wind affects water under the ice, no magic required!

Re:Don't panic. (0)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800231)

The gyre appears to indicate that the ice is becoming thin enough over the Arctic Ocean that the wind is beginning to affect the motion of water under the ice.

I'm quite certain that not only has this not happened before, its not happening now. The summary must not state what the article states, because wind is not magical stuff that teleports through ice in order to transfer its momentum to water underneath it.

Actually, it was melting ice caps break off and are free to move around. This moving of ice bergs stirs up the water underneath it. Think of coffee with cream, with the cream on the bottom. Blowing on the coffee will not stir it up, but a moving a spoon through it will.

With that said, I feel that free moving ice should have basically no effect. To use my analogy above, consider a bathtub full of coffee with cream on the bottom. How much can you stir it by blowing coffee beans around the surface? Also, ice bergs moving around the oceans is NOTHING compared to the ocean currents that already stir up the water which are generated and are strongest at the Arctic.

Re:Don't panic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800463)

Alternatively the ice is now thin enough for the wind to flex it and thus influence the water.

Mistake (2)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799849)

Earth is a "he". Who knew?

Meh... (1)

RPGillespie (2478442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799853)

From what I understand, ice cubes floating in a glass of water will not change the level of water when they melt. Call me when the ice on Antarctica will start melting at an accelerated rate.

Re:Meh... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800015)

Because sea level is the only that matters in the world?

And fresh water ice cubes floating in a glass of salt water will change the level of the water when they melt. By an insignificant amount, but still a tiny bit.

Day After Tomorrow (0)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799861)

Maybe the sudden surge of fresh water will cause the North Atlantic current to shut down. Thus causing massive storms to cover the earth and plunge us into the next ice age. Hey it worked for Hollywood.

Re:Day After Tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38799921)

Is that the movie where New York instantly supercooled? Seemed like the atmosphere disappeared and exposed the surface to space.

I suspect the slightly lower salt levels detected near melting glaciers will not cause our atmosphere to vanish.

Re:Day After Tomorrow (4, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800319)

What happened in that movie was that the resulting super hurricane created an enormous low pressure cell which pulled extremely low temperature upper atmospheric air down to the surface.

This does not seem to contradict some observed "fossil" data, which shows mammoths frozen solid with food in their mouths. (Sorry, can't find a suitable citation. Most reports of this finding are from old field journals in the 1600s to 1800s.)

(Word 'fossil' in quotes, since subjects are not actually fossils, but chryopreserved corpses.)

I don't know if a reversal of the north atlantic current would do what was depicted in that movie, but there is evidence of previous cataclysmic and sudden climatological events in earth's history.

Personally, I prefer to think that if anthopogenic co2 is not responsible, it certainly can't be helping things any given what we do know. Eg, if you are genetically type 1 diabetic, eating super fatty foods and becoming obiese doesn't help you very much, and can compound the problem. (Because then you get type 2 on top of the type 1.)

We can control the amount of co2 that mankind releases, and not so much what nature releases with volcanism, etc. As such, if we are to try to mitigate the problem, anthropogenic sources are the first target of interest regardless of ideological position on the matter. (Unless you choose to ignore over a century's worth of scientific inquiry into the greenhouse gas nature of that particular compound.....) limiting and attempting marked reductions in such emissions would undeniably be a good thing, in terms of postponing a hypothetical carbon dioxide cascade scenario from occuring. (The arguments over source just limits how effective such measures might prove to be. If most of the problem is anthropogenic, such reduction could postpone indefinately, and if the bulk is natural, we might just stave if off a few decades. Something to consider when chosing to blame nature for this problem, as the implication is far more dire in the long term. Regardlss, limiting the rate using the variable we *can* control is simply a good idea, given the currently available information.)

I can't think of any other potential driving factor for such extreme climate changes without including major greenhouse gasses, such as co2, methane, and water vapor.

The cessation of the north atlantic current would deffinately change the weather in europe and north america, since warm, moisture rich air wouldn't get pushed to europe (europe would get much colder and drier) and cold, nutrient rich north ocean water wouldn't make its way into the caribbean, greatly impacting the food chain in that region, among other things.

The impact on climate, though, is dependant upon how long the current is suspended, the outcomes of snowfall in suddenly much chillier areas altering wind patterns, and the amount of water vapor staying in the atmosphere from equatorial regions taking over/enhancing the effects of co2 levels.

I don't know if the cessation of the NA Current would initiate a chain reaction or not, but it certainly would decimate many human industries, ranging from fishing to farming. That alone makes it a "bad thing" worth worrying about.

Re:Day After Tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800399)

This does not seem to contradict some observed "fossil" data, which shows mammoths frozen solid with food in their mouths
 
Of course. Because animals never die of sudden heart failure or stroke. Just like every time someone who has a heart attack while driving they have perfect control calmly pull their car to the side of the road.

Re:Day After Tomorrow (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800431)

Iirc, the incidence of the reports suggested whole herds preserved this way. This kinds rules out "omg, I has cngestive heart failure cuz iz so fat!" As the cause.

Re:Day After Tomorrow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800243)

funny how every post in this thread referencing that silly movie is getting modded down as Troll, wonder if we got a shill among us.

Manbearpig is REAL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38799863)

I told you all!

Captcha: Kernels

Crap. I'm running behind...... (3, Insightful)

dbreeze (228599) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799929)

I'm way behind schedule on my plans to gather everything up and git my ass to the mountains before it all goes to hell. Anyone interested in swapping some land up the hill a ways for some coastal Carolina soon to be beachfront property?

Re:Crap. I'm running behind...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800009)

I have a small ranch near Beledweyne, you're welcome to come take a look. There's a nice road up here straight from Mogadishu.

Re:Crap. I'm running behind...... (1)

dbreeze (228599) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800545)

Don't tempt me. You been to Pender County lately?

Thermohaline (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38799943)

Read more about the thermo-haline cycle on Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermohaline_circulation [wikipedia.org] .

Yeah, but. (5, Funny)

The Askylist (2488908) | more than 2 years ago | (#38799945)

I'll only start worrying if this gyre starts to gimble in the wabe.

Re:Yeah, but. (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800075)

Or if there's a falconer in the middle of it.

Re:Yeah, but. (1)

Ruke (857276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800375)

Things fall apart. The center cannot hold. =(

Re:Yeah, but. (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800145)

If only we'd listened to Al Gore and brought along our vorpal blade.

Re:Yeah, but. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800215)

I didnt understand that at all! - Do I need to hand in my geek card?

When this happened the last time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38799963)

Did it not cause an ice age?

Puberty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38799985)

It happens to all guys. Maybe the earth is just having a good dream.

Personally (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38799997)

I welcome a 60 meters rise in sea level, if for no other reason than Florida will no longer exist.

Fuck humans, all 7 billion of them, they are a scourge of locust upon this Earth, and everyone thought the biblical plague would be actual insect locust.

Pfffft (1, Flamebait)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800005)

Bulges are a liberal myth. True Americans don't have any bulges.

Re:Pfffft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800275)

hey, ive got it! just dont pay our UN dues, then are arent part of the "world" (a liberal myth if ever i heard one), and wont be affected by global warming. let those liberal socialist suckers elsewhere suffer from their false beliefs. if you dont think its true, its not. if you think its true, its true. thats "amurrican" science.

I saw this movie! (0)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800007)

New york gets swamped with a massive tsunami and Canada becomes a contiguous icecube. Welcome to the new iceage! Prepare for the poles to switch any day now! I'll be here along the equator watching the show unfold.

Re:I saw this movie! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800443)

Ice cube? It's january 23rd and it's 1C outside*. More like water cube if you ask me.

*Hint for American readers: water freezes at 0C.

YEAGH (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800017)

MELT THE FUCKER DOWN

Disaster porn (1)

ztexas (1351217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800021)

This is giving me a huge bulge of my own. How long until New York freezes over like in The Day After Tomorrow?

Blame Russia (2, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800031)

According to recent research, a large quantity of Russian rivers that flow North are dumping unusually high amounts of fresh water into the Arctic Ocean.

Either that or Dick Cheney cause it's all due to Global Warming.

Guesswork (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800053)

We've got 15 years worth of data on the evolution of surface ice. It moves around a lot from year to year, no obvious cycle established yet. What interpretation of this will produce the biggest, scariest funding producing headlines possible? I know! The one that aligns perfectly with the statist approved view of the world.

OK, I believe, but where do I put my money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800133)

Forget the usual "buy guns and food" stuff. Seriously. Where do you put your wealth if this thing continues to unfold?

Re:OK, I believe, but where do I put my money? (5, Funny)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800169)

Wealth will be measured using much different metrics.

Like how many canoes you own.

Re:OK, I believe, but where do I put my money? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800475)

Bitcoins

Re:OK, I believe, but where do I put my money? (2)

anubi (640541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800211)

Into yourself.

Acquire knowledge and tools.

Only one thing to do (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800261)

Well, there's only one thing left to do to save the world. Tax the bejesus out of the American taxpayer! Do you greenies ever give up?

And it begins! (1, Funny)

codepunk (167897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800303)

It's true the world is doomed it is 2012.

forget the water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800393)

need another beer, swear I heard somebody talking about my Fresh Bulge

Too bad we can't capture all that freshwater (2)

ToiletBomber (2269914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38800421)

Then we could solve all our water needs... but we don't have any sort of storage/transportation system to do that sort of thing, let alone one large enough to capture a reasonable portion. Unless you had millions of people at a time flock to the place with water bottles and pitchers.

and lo... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38800563)

the bloated carcass of Al Gore will surface, releasing decaying gas locked withing his voluminous mesentary - all life on Earth will then be doomed.

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