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Global Warming To Leave North Pole Ice-Free

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the penguins-mildly-irritated dept.

Science 664

cwolfsheep writes "Tonight, Yahoo & AFP news are reporting on a study, further backing up a previous report, that suggests the North Pole will be ice-free in the summer by the next century. Oddly enough, they say the melting will not add to the sea-level of the ocean (since the ice is already in the ocean) and that the extra water will help absorb more greenhouse gases. Maybe we need to start using more aerosols."

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Penguins? (5, Funny)

Alex Reynolds (102024) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693019)

Penguins live on the other side of the earth -- they probably won't care too much about this.

Cheers,
Alex

Re:Penguins? (0, Offtopic)

McTrex (642299) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693035)

Yeah, but we Linux pinguins do...

Re:Penguins? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693042)

Are we onto Linux already?

Re:Penguins? (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693044)

I remember reading recently that penguins live even at 15 degrees South (almost the tropics)... nothing for them to get worried about.

OTOH, if Seattle gets submerged....

-

Re:Penguins? (3, Interesting)

slothman32 (629113) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693116)

Some penguins even live as far north as 0 degrees. That's right on the equator. 1 species of penguin live on the Galapagos Islands; which for your trivia pleasure lies at almost exactly 0N, 30W.

Re:Penguins? (3, Funny)

jkrise (535370) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693137)

Some penguins even live as far north as 0 degrees. That's right on the equator.

Must be RedHot Penguins? :^) Thanks for the info...

-

Re:Penguins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693187)

Maybe it's an open source businessmodel?

1: Write free software.
2: ?
3: Get rid of the ice.
4: Profit!

*cries* (5, Funny)

DarthVeda (569302) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693022)

*Holding precious copy of Water World*. You mean Kevin Costner LIED to us?! But this was such a good movie!

Re:*cries* (1)

trompete (651953) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693088)

Precious!? Next time you're in Minneapolis, we'll go out and get you some good movies. All I can think of when I see that movie is Kevin Costner drinking his own pee.

Re:*cries* (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693145)

All I can think of when I see that movie is Kevin Costner drinking his own pee.

Well, the guy did get his start in a Troma movie - what do you expect?

Re:*cries* (4, Funny)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693268)

He didn't!

Such an extremely high quality actor in such an extremely high quality film couldn't possibly be lying! You scientists! With all of your science (pardon my French, but it had to be said)! What could you possibly know that hollywood doesn't? Can you make movies? I didn't think so. Next you'll be saying that you can't make a world where computers use people for energy!

When the smokers come to take over MY atoll, I'll be ready! I'm trying to grow gills even as we speak.

Is that so.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693024)

I for one welcome our new polar bear overlords!

Isn't water denser than ice?? (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693028)

If the ice melts, the volume of water generated would be less than that occupied by ice, follows that the volume of the seas should actually decrease...

-

Re:Isn't water denser than ice?? (4, Informative)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693057)

No, the ice displaces an amount of water equal to it's on weight, and that's why some of it sticks out above the water.

Re:Isn't water denser than ice?? (4, Funny)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693064)

Except a lot of ice (ex : much of Antarctica) is on land in the form of glaciers. If you melt the North Pole, you'll surely melt these glaciers too, and then we'll all be fucked. Well, not me, I'll become a Tibetian Monk. They have internet access, right ? I saw it in an IBM commercial.

Re:Isn't water denser than ice?? (4, Interesting)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693144)

You do get internet access, but why not just become a Taoist? All the enlightenment, none of the dogma.

In any case you are correct. There is a hell of a lot of ice on land that will be added to the seas. Just look at the melting permafrost and receeding glaciers of Alaska and Canada.

This report also glosses over the affect all that melted ice will have on the ocean's salinity. It is predicted that a slight change in ocean salinity is enough to turn the taps off on the Gulf stream. This would leave Europe pretty screwed. England's weather would start to be more like Nova Scotia's.

Re:Isn't water denser than ice?? (2, Funny)

lhuiz (614322) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693178)

Even if the Gulf stream stays intact, Europe will still be screwed. I mean, here I am, living in Amsterdam, with my head just above the water level if I stand on my toes. A dike is a much too thin line between a productive life and extinction if you ask me. My computer is on the second floor though, so I guess I'll still be allright if I have to start using boats to get anywhere...

Re:Isn't water denser than ice?? (1)

quaxzarron (463943) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693069)

Volume will...
Sea Level wont...
Coz what was above water now (as ice), will occupy the drop in volume when the ice under water changes into water

~!nrk

Re:Isn't water denser than ice?? (1)

iMMersE (226214) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693106)

<pedant>Ice doesn't change into water. Ice is water, albeit frozen.</pedant>

Re:Isn't water denser than ice?? (1)

neodymium (411811) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693071)

Not if the ice is floating on the water. The amount of water displaced by ice is exactly the amount of water generated by the melting ice. - Archimedes' law.

Re:Isn't water denser than ice?? (1)

danormsby (529805) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693074)

The weight of water displaced by the floating ice is equal to the weight of the floating ice. When the floating ice melts it occupies a smaller volume that is exactly equal to the volume of the water it was displacing.

There is a drop in volume and drop in height at the North Pole but no change in sea level. Gettit?

It is the South Pole we need to worry about where the ice sits on land. If that melts it will add to the sea volume.

Re:Isn't water denser than ice?? (1)

CrowScape (659629) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693077)

Got it wrong there. Yes, water is denser than ice, which is why ice floats. Once the ice has displaced it's mass of water, it stops sinking. So, since it has already displaced its mass, when it melts it will not raise the water level one bit. You can see this at home. Get a styrofoam cup (just so you don't have to deal with condensation) put a couple of ice cubes in it and fill it to the brim with water. Wipe off the cup and place it on the counter. Leave for a half hour and come back, you'll find the water level hasn't changed and the counter isn't wet.

Pffft (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693032)



But what about Antarctica? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693033)

When will it be thawed? I really need to get down into the center of the Earth [unmuseum.org] where Hitler has been hiding [flem-ath.com] since WW2.

water absorbs gas? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693034)

From my experience, gas expelled underwater will bubble its way to the top. If water absorbed gas you'd never know who farted in the pool.

Ice melting not the problem (2, Interesting)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693036)

I've never understood why the media has always gone on about polar ice melting causing the oceans to rise....

If anything's going to cause the oceans to rise, it would be the heat expansion of the water that's already there.....

Re:Ice melting not the problem (1)

cp99 (559733) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693063)

There are two main projected causes of a sea level rise.

The first is thermal expansion, and the second is the melting of ice which sits on top of land.

Your post only applies to the north pole. (1)

chrischan (630726) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693092)

Your post only applies to the north pole. Since the southern ice cap afaik sits on massive land, the water level WILL rise, if it melts. No Sig.

Re:Ice melting not the problem (5, Informative)

danormsby (529805) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693096)

Unlike the North Pole where the ice floats on the sea Antartica is a big land mass with lots of ice on top. If the Antartic ice melts, sea levels will rise.

Did anyone else think... (5, Funny)

dcypher_67 (674764) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693038)

Santa on a houseboat?

The Straight Truth About the GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693040)

The GNAA is a small loose knit group of trolls whose sole purpose is to post retarded shit to various websites. Membership of the group is really irrelevant, but they do have guidelines, which are really just part of their elaborate "troll". Basically, you gotta be a nigger, gay, or both, blah blah. Post an fp for the group and your ub3r l33t, bs ,bs . ...

The cold hard facts about the GNAA
There's nothing gay or black about the GNAA. In fact, the GNAA doesnt have a single gay or black member at all, and most likely never will.

IRC Chat log
(Nws4Turds) pocide
(Nws4Turds) i m teh luv j00!
(koft) yo, st0p b3ing teh gay
(koft) gh3y is teh sux0r
(pocide) i luv u 2 Nws4Turds !, lets felch!
(Nws4Turds) y3s!
(Nws4Turds) pocide
(koft) ph3lch is teh sux0r
(Nws4Turds) i like teh ph3lch
(koft) thats nasty, yall are gay niggers if i ever saw gay niggers
(Nws4Turds) i'm a gay nigger
(koft) stop being t3h gh3y.
(Nws4Turds) actually, i'm a straight honkey

And at this point, Nws4Turds ebraces his heterosexuality, coming out of a "reverse closet" for a brief moment, exposing his inner self. He then feels the need to expound on this idea.
(Nws4Turds) i had sex this morning
(Nws4Turds) it felt good
(Nws4Turds) she came twice

After these statements i was threatened!
(pocide) k0ft: do not even attempt to fr0st
(pocide) not only will YFI but you'd be testin my gangsta and you don't wanna do that, oh no

Following our conversation, my ids picked up a portscan from 24.174.81.26, the address from a user in the channel known as "penisbird".
(pocide) I see your running IIS and exchange. your machine is going down the deep dark anus hole of goatse!
(koft) Damn, i didnt realize that apache and sendmail were part of IIS and exchange... You guys are leeter that i immagined...

Truth: GNAA is a group of wanna be script kiddies who troll on lame message boards like 'Slashdot'
Truth: The GNAA leader 'PenisBird' has a prefrence for porn depicting under age individuals
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Don't take my word for it though, check out the lameness for yourself. efnet #GNAA

okay (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693043)

As long as my $2,000,000 beach house isn't swallowed by water, I'm happy.

Re:okay (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693070)

Hey, I need the water to rise so that my $20,000 beach house 50 miles away from the ocean will be beach front.

Re:okay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693190)

Imagine Tallahassee, home of Florida State University, being a beach town.

Hand Warming To Leave Giant Cock Cum-Free (-1, Offtopic)

(TK14)Dessimat0r (672420) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693047)

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E__________________##',-',-E
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I__TrollKore______##',-',";I
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P________________8',-',";,.P
E_______________#'',-',";,.E
N______________8(',-',";,..N
I_____________#(',-',";,.,.I
S__________#8#8_',-',";,.,.S
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E_______#'',-',";8_',-',";.E
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I guess (4, Funny)

0x12d3 (623370) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693050)

I guess santa's gonna have to trade that big red suit and sleigh in for a tank top and a suv

Re:I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693109)

maybe he'll make his own version of Sealand too

Re:I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693181)

That SUV isnt going to do so well in the middle of the Artic Ocean. Maybe he can get extra airbags.

Poor Canadians... (0, Offtopic)

snipingkills (250057) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693051)

NOw they won't be able to go outside in a 100 years or so and get fresh ice the way nature intended it. Maybe by that time no one will care since will we claim to be mother nature, or at least her creator.

Here, let me help (3, Interesting)

rabtech (223758) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693055)

Let me help clue some people in here. One of the wonderful properties of water (which helps to make earth more conductive to life I might add) is that it becomes less dense and expands when it freezes. It is one of the few natural materials that does so. Most things become more dense. (Hence, lakes don't freeze solid killing all the fish. The ice forms an insulating layer at the top because it is less dense than water and floats.)

As a result, the complete melting of the polar ice cap would result in, quite possibly, a slight reduction in sea levels, as the resultant water from the melting will take up less space than the ice did. However, since ice floats, some of it was above the waterline so it may end up a wash.

If the antartic melted, that would be very bad. You see, there is a land mass there. With ice frozen on top of it. If that ice melts, that is new water added to the ocean as a whole, NOT water replacing ice that was already in the ocean. A totally different animal.

As for all this? we knew that we were coming out of the last mini-iceage already. It doesn't shock me in the least to see what the ice is still receeding on the whole. Maybe if we warm things up slightly we won't see any more large-scale ice ages. As much as I delore some of the insane policies of the eastern ultra-liberal nutjobs, I have no desire to see New York covered in a glacial blanket.

Don't Release More co2, Harvard Says It's Evil (5, Interesting)

Pavan_Gupta (624567) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693090)

That's a good point, and with that point taken into account, here's another interesting twist on the story that's come out...

They're saying that the ocean would thus absorb more co2, but this won't possibly make an impact if the surfaces of the ocean aren't greater.

In fact, Harvard Magazine says, "The ocean absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere in an attempt to reach equilibrium by direct air-to-sea exchange. This process takes place at an extremely low rate, measured in hundreds to thousands of years. However, once dissolved in the ocean, a carbon atom will stay there, on average, more than 500 years, estimates Michael McElroy, Butler professor of environmental science" which seems to indicate that though we might be able to absorb a bit more co2, it won't make a difference.

The time constraints are very large, but moreover, the amount of co2 that contacts the ocean won't be high enough for somethign dramatic to happen before we destroy the precious things we already have.

Thus, I'd like to think that we should still be very careful about how we just arbitrarly throw co2 into the air.

Re:Here, let me help (4, Informative)

Negative Response (650136) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693131)

As a result, the complete melting of the polar ice cap would result in, quite possibly, a slight reduction in sea levels, as the resultant water from the melting will take up less space than the ice did. However, since ice floats, some of it was above the waterline so it may end up a wash.
Whatever object that floats does it be repelling water of the same mass as itself, thus melting a piece of ice floating on a water body will result in the water level being exactly the same as before, not "less space" or "end up a wash". Seriously.

Re:Here, let me help (1)

eddie can read (631836) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693230)

melting a piece of ice floating on a water body will result in the water level being exactly the same as before

You are correct! We simply apply Archimedes' principle to water itself!

Re:Here, let me help (4, Interesting)

jrumney (197329) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693134)

Canada, Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway are land masses too, with lots of glaciers and permafrost. I don't think the North Pole is going to melt in isolation. A lot of "scientists" seem to lack the common sense to see the bigger picture.

Re:Here, let me help (3, Interesting)

BJH (11355) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693168)

As is Greenland, I believe - one of the largest islands in the world.

Re:Here, let me help (5, Informative)

Nyh (55741) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693174)

Two things:

1 Ice floating in water displaces as much water as it mass. So when it melts the volume will not change.

2 The interesting thing is that water shrinks when you heat it from 0C to 4C so in that traject it will take up less space. Continue heating above 4C it it starts expanding again.

Warmer oceans will mean higher sea level because warmer water is less dense.

Nyh

Re:Here, let me help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693199)

..but isn't there air trapped in the ice?

Well, Genuis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693221)

> As for all this? we knew that we were coming
> out of the last mini-iceage already. It doesn't
> shock me in the least to

Ummm, those things happen on the scale of tens of thousands of years Buck Rogers, not 100 years as mankind fucks up the world at a far accelerated pace.

Re:Here, let me help (1)

nihilogos (87025) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693236)

As for all this? we knew that we were coming out of the last mini-iceage already. It doesn't shock me in the least to see what the ice is still receeding on the whole.

Sure, that's possible. We don't really want to bet coastal cities on it though.

But (1)

Gherald (682277) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693056)

I thought we were supposed to hate aerosols, and now they are our friends?

I am so confused.

Santa?? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693058)

So if there's no North Pole where will Santa live. And all the elves, and the reindeer! They'll drown!!!

Re:Santa?? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693076)

When I was in second grade, there was this kid that kept insisting that Santa Claus was dead. That kid was sweet.

Re:Santa?? (4, Funny)

joonasl (527630) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693120)

Everyone knows that REAL Santa lives at Korvatunturi in Finnih Lappland. Just ask any Finn. :)

Re:Santa?? (1)

Gherald (682277) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693176)

But if I have to ask a Finn, how can you claim "everyone knows" ?

Re:Santa?? (1)

toesate (652111) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693248)



Isn't it such that everyone knows until they don't, or when they got confused..

If someone could help me - is north pole a point on surface or a region on surface?

Sea level... (4, Insightful)

Urkki (668283) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693060)

Sure thing melting northern polar cap doesn't affect sea level, it's floating already.

But melting Greenland ice will affect it. Probably also permafrost in Siberia and Canada would start melting, which will potentially release a lot of methane from the northern marshes.

And I have hard time believing that if northern ice cap melts, also southern ice cap won't get smaller (and that will rise sea level)...

Better watch out if you live by the sea... Lease the land for your new house for 50-100 years, don't buy it, and you should be fine ;)

Re:Sea level... (2, Interesting)

rikkus-x (526844) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693258)

Release of large quantities of methane could cause interesting effects, but I'm not sure exactly what effects they would be.

Some methane rises to the stratosphere and becomes CO2 and water vapour. Is the amount of methane likely to be released under such a scenario going to have significant effect on these?

Some methane oxidises in the troposphere, removing oxygen. That water vapour in the stratosphere eventually gives oxygen back, so should we expect a net gain or loss of oxygen? I'm guessing a loss, but would this be balanced by other effects?

Rik

a conflict? (1, Interesting)

dontbgay (682790) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693066)

anyone noticing a conflict in this report? "Because the ice cap is already in the water when it is melting, you are not adding any mass. Only precipitation, discharge from rivers and the melting of glaciers can cause the water to rise," he said. The bigger the ocean is, the more CO2 it will be able to absorb," Johannessen said. call me crazy but if the melting doesn't cause the ocean mass to expand.. then how is it going to cause the ocean to be bigger? eh, maybe i just nitpick?

Re:a conflict? (1)

invalid_argument (697851) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693080)

if the melting doesn't cause the ocean mass to expand.. then how is it going to cause the ocean to be bigger?

Correction: The ocean IS going to be bigger, but because the ice-masses will melt, it won't have any affect an the sea-level!

Re:a conflict? (1)

joonasl (527630) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693087)

The bigger the ocean is, the more CO2 it will be able to absorb," Johannessen said. call me crazy but if the melting doesn't cause the ocean mass to expand.. then how is it going to cause the ocean to be bigger? eh, maybe i just nitpick?

I'm just guessing here, but could it be that in order to absorb CO2 effectively, water has to be in a liquid for since in a liquid for it effecively provides more surface area for absorbing gasses. Other point could be that generally warmer a solutionscan absorb other substances more effectively (e.g. try adding salt to cold and warm water. More salt can be melted to the warm water than to the cold).

Re:a conflict? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693124)

the air/water boundary will have more surface area.

Re:a conflict? (2, Informative)

Fungii (153063) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693182)

The point is that when the water is in the form of ice it won't absorb the CO2, whereas in water form it will.

So, I hope that answers your question.

Northwest passage... (2, Interesting)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693067)

Might not be good for the environment, but it will probably be good for all the shipping corporations. It'll cut a thousand miles off the commute.

I'm buying beachfront property in Point Barrow.

Re:Northwest passage... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693105)

I'm just confused as in the 70's we were all worried about the coming ice age. When did that reverse into global warming? Was there a time in the middle when it was the "global the temp's going to be the same for a while"?

So fucking WHAT? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693068)

1) This isn't going to happen for another 100 years, we'll all be dead.
2) Nothing bad is going to happen, anyways.
3) ???
4) PROFIT!

I need someone to explain... (3, Insightful)

epicstruggle (311178) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693073)

how at one point africa was a very fertile land. Was it because there was more or less ice at the poles. I cant remember but over a millenium or two wasnt egypt and the surrounding areas (including ethiopia and ethrate) the bread basket of the world? Would the melting of the ice caps help or hurt the countries in africa?

later,
epic

Re:I need someone to explain... (1)

CrowScape (659629) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693095)

Help. There were no deserts before the ice caps (or very few). The lock up of large ammounts of moisture and resulting weather patterns dried out Africa.

Re:I need someone to explain... (5, Informative)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693115)

Desertification is what destroyed North Africa. The area that is now the Sahara was once a fertile plain. As the soil dries out, it destroys a fungus that actually helps bind it together and retain moisture.

The rub is, Desert begets desert. As the land becomes arid, it heats up the surrounding land, causing the desert to spread.

Now one thing not helping the situation is Man. Certain agricultural practices accellerate desertification.

Indeed, start looking for deserts to form in Brazil. Rain forests don't really build good soil, and when you slash and burn the rainforest down to form farmland you only get a few good years out of it before the soil breaks down. Rain Forests generate their own weather patterns, and with no forest, no rain.

Re:I need someone to explain... (0, Flamebait)

eggstasy (458692) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693141)

I'm not a geologist, but this much I can tell you:
The Sahara has been there since before civilization arose in the fertile crescent.
It became a desert when some geological phenomenon made mountains appear, blocking the natural flow of rain clouds into the area.
The land in Africa is like the land in any other place. It's not especially infertile, it's merely littered with some of the dumbest people on Earth who have done nothing but fight each other and set up dictatorship after dictatorship, destroying what little infrastructure existed and robbing the people of their rightful resources like food and water. Of course old colonialism didnt help and modern capitalism doesnt help either.
Western corporations enjoy the cheap labour and products from Africa, encouraging countries to produce crops of tropical fruit instead of, say wheat, which we have plenty of. So they buy cheap goods from them and when they have no food sell them some of our excess for twice as much as what they would have spent had they grown their own.
Also, some previously fertile areas depended on the natural cycle of yearly floods which irrigated the areas adjacent to the rivers. This has been disrupted by dams.

Re:I need someone to explain... (4, Insightful)

fruey (563914) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693195)

It's not especially infertile, it's merely littered with some of the dumbest people on Earth who have done nothing but fight each other and set up dictatorship after dictatorship, destroying what little infrastructure existed and robbing the people of their rightful resources like food and water. Of course old colonialism didnt help and modern capitalism doesnt help either.

Saharan Africa may have had a more simple existence, based rather more on tribal rules and minor warfare, but everything was massively accelerated by colonialism. I don't think calling the people "dumb" is fair.

First of all, the introduction of "the one true" religion, mostly Christianity, but also Islam from the North, (never so good a cause of much bloodshed as religion through the ages). Then, the creation of arbitrary borders, to further separate tribes from their previous allies. Then, the pillage of most natural resources, agricultural practices, dams, etc. Further, the sale of arms and weapons to these tribes to further ruin their economies, and increase bloodshed further. Indeed a lot of war in Africa directly profits the arms trade, and leaves countries with a trade deficit in spite of all the tropical fruit they sell.

It's hard for me to understand just how the pot can call the kettle black in such circumstances as you describe. Primitive culture, perhaps, but it was adapted to its surroundings to an extent. Before colonialism I doubt there was much in the way of dictatorships, just chiefdoms, etc... although I'm sure Saharan Africa wasn't a peaceful nirvana or anything.

There is no doubt in my mind that the worst pillages of nature have all been initiated in the minds and by the greed of the western capitalist system, particularly this inexorable trend towards ever greater consumerism, which is what is really robbing the world of natural resources and causing a higher percentage of pollution than anything else.

Re:I need someone to explain... (1)

KristanT (688637) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693175)

Less ice on the poles, more rain just about everywhere. This what the geological data is telling us. The forests in Sahara were green during the holocene maximum about 6000 years ago, when weather was much warmer than today. - Thomas

Dear Slashdot Community (-1)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693078)

Thanks for all your support and I know you all love smoking cock but I am shutting this site down as of 6am eastern standard time. The SCO lawsuit is just too much to deal with. Oh, and since all the spelling and grammar are correct so far (BTW note previous sentence ends with preposition), I offer this as proof of identity - "i cant spel or punktuate'~! Hapy cock sucking and see you on the flipside.

Cmdr Tafco

Archimedes Principle (5, Informative)

panurge (573432) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693085)

If he is capable of reading some of these posts, Archimedes must be revolving in his grave.

Anything floating in water displaces a volume of water EXACTLY equivalent to its own weight. If ice melts, the part that was above the water is exactly equal to the reduction in volume, and there is exactly no change in the water level.

On the other hand, if the non-floating ice on Antarctica or Greenland melts, since it wasn't displacing any water, the ocean levels will rise. And there is a LOT of ice on Antarctica.

The melting of floating ice makes little difference to sea temperature since it is water at close to 0 degrees, but melting glacial ice generally runs off into warmer water, causing sea temperature reduction with potentially catastrophic effects (e.g. stopping of the Gulf Stream).

Re:Archimedes Principle (1)

Jardine (398197) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693154)

Dammit, Archimedes was wrong. When will people finally realize this? Are you going to let a naked Greek guy determine your beliefs?

Gulf stream stopping (5, Interesting)

alistair (31390) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693179)

You explain the Archimedes Principle very well, but the threat to the Gulf Stream, which is one of the most serious possible effects of global warming, has little to do with sea temperature reduction in Northern waters. It is a general trend to increasing quantities of fresh water of any temperature being produced as run off in Europe which could stop this salt pump / conveyor belt effect. This has happened at least twice before with the result of major temperature drops in Europe.

There is an excellent summary here [cf.ac.uk] . One interesting quote "[the gulf stream] carries over 3 trillion KW of heat to Europe - roughly 100 times the world's consumption of energy"

Already in the water? (1)

Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693086)

How do they figure melting ice won't raise sea levels? even if the glacier is 20 feet above water, won't the excess buoyant pieces of ice melt down into the ocean?

No, BUT... (4, Informative)

danro (544913) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693191)

How do they figure melting ice won't raise sea levels? even if the glacier is 20 feet above water, won't the excess buoyant pieces of ice melt down into the ocean?

Actually no. Water is more dense than ice (this is why it floats above the water in the first place). So so far this theory seems ok.

What they don't account for, and what makes this bunk is that it doesn't account for the huge amount of landlocked glaciers (The south pole, Greenland, etc.).
Someone kindly explain how you propose to melt just the floating ice and not the rest of it?

This crap is posted just to further the official slashdot agenda of:
"I'll do whatever the hell I want to and I'm sure it'll have no consequences whatsoever on the environment. And if it has, it's my lazy worthless childrens problem!
You'll pry the steering wheel of my SUV from my cold dead fingers, commie-boy!"


Now go ahead and label me a crazy environazi, if you like.
It doesn't make my point any less valid.

Stupidest submitter EVER! (3, Insightful)

asb (1909) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693099)

Mod me down as a troll if you like but I declare cwolfsheep the stupidest Slashdot article submitter EVER and he needs to know it!

"Let's climb mt Everest because it exists. Let's also melt the north pole because it exists."

I wonder if he considerer one second about what happens to the Antarctic and Greenland (and let's not forget all the ice covered mountain regions around the world, can you say "mud slide") while he is busy spraying CFC in the air (yeah, aerosols no longer contain CFC's, so he was wrong about that too).

Additional effect? (4, Insightful)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693103)

I'm just a backseat environmental scientist, but what is the effect of losing the temperature-buffer that is the ice-cap? I mean, while it's melting, it will retain a temperature of 0 degrees, at least if I recall my physics/chemistry correctly. That means the icecaps provide a nice energy buffer for rises and falls in temperature. If they MELT, they obviously no longer do that. So, will global temperatures rise faster when the icecaps are gone?

Re:Additional effect? (1)

joonasl (527630) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693139)

There is the additional problem: Gulf stream would probably come to a halt making whole Western Europe "as could as it should" considering it's geographical location. The global impact of this would be huge.

Re:Additional effect? (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693150)

True. At least we'd finally get rid of this damned heatwave! Bring out the igloos!

I'm growing a beard, and I'll be ready for Vikings 2005 - Rape, Pillage, Surf and Hack.

Re:Additional effect? (3, Interesting)

Fungii (153063) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693156)

I don't think you'll have to worry too much about that - water has such a high specific heat and conductivity it works pretty well as an energy buffer.

If you don't believe me look at the climate of island states compared to land locked states. For example I live in Ireland, and the annual temperature range is ~20 degrees celcius maximum. It can be *way* more than that even in places in continental europe at the same lattitude.

More Oil! (5, Insightful)

MunchMunch (670504) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693104)

Oddly enough, they say the melting will not add to the sea-level of the ocean (since the ice is already in the ocean) and that the extra water will help absorb more greenhouse gases. Maybe we need to start using more aerosols.

Boy howdy. Did you read the CNN Article [cnn.com] ?:

"...Johannessen works at the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center in Norway. 'This will make it easier to explore for oil, it could open the Northern Sea Route (between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans)," he said of the report, dubbed the Arctic Ice Cover Simulation Experiment. '"

I dunno, its theoretically possible (though pretty improbable) that there's absolutely nothing to worry about when our polar ice caps melt completely, but I'm of the mind that when the article is more concerned about the new oil drilling prospects and trade routes than climate instability, cancer-causing UV rays, and so on, maybe its time to get a second opinion.

Too funny (2, Funny)

Pompatus (642396) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693108)

From the article:

the disappearance of the Arctic ice cap would benefit maritime transport as it would create a new northern shipping route along Russia's northern coast that could save some 10 days in journey time between Europe and Japan.

I guess every dark cloud really does have a silver lining. And to think I was worried. Don't I feel foolish

Rapid climate change (5, Informative)

halfseaice (624714) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693118)

Only within the past decade have researchers warmed to the possibility of abrupt shifts in Earth's climate. Sometimes, it takes a while to see what one is not prepared to look for:
http://www.physicstoday.org/vol-56/iss-8/p30.html

Todays sea ice maps: http://www.seaice.de

But wait ... (2, Funny)

SuperDuG (134989) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693127)

you're all relieved the water level won't rise ...

But where the hell is santa gunna live if his homeland is melted??

Penguins (1)

Bartmoss (16109) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693129)

Don't live at the north pole, you insensitive clods.

pollution isnt a problem, it's a solution (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693132)

The radioactive waste means you dont need lights any more, and the mutants chase off the terrorists!

What more can you ask for?
think about the children (TM)!

Question (1)

heli0 (659560) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693186)

How much ice (m^3) is present on the earth's land masses (Antarctica and Greenland mainly) and what effect would the melting of this ice (25%,50%,75% and 100% melted) have on global ocean levels?

Re:Question (2, Informative)

halfseaice (624714) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693237)

http://www.aip.org/history/climate/floods.htm#L_07 03

ice melts, then world gets deadly too hot.. (0, Troll)

thenarftwit (575271) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693205)

The thing is, is that once all the cold surfaces (read: ice and water) get too hot, the heat will not stop there, but will start to get exponentially hotter, by then, it we have not used nanotech to slow down the solar radidation reaching earth and developed solar panels to collect energy (no oil use anymore) and build a more efficient future for ourselves, if we fail to heed the current warnings, our fragile civilization will collapse into a bunch of canibals eating each other...if the enviromental life-support system doesn't fail first and we virtually roast in the heat...like, who cares about stupid things like money and posessions if you'r dead!!!! We only have a few years before all hell breaks loose, right now, europe is roasting, what about 5 years from now???, will all the fish, wheat, and cows be dead??? Time to break out the soilent green...

Remember the Salt effect (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693206)

Now if I remember right the ice is salt free right?? Well when this salt free water is introduced into the oceans wouldn't it lower the saltness levels. This in turn effect the cooling affects of the water. There was a post a couple of months on this. Basically it said the introducing of the fresh water(melting cap/s) well cause the planet to become cooler because of how salt water and fresh water interacts in the ocean in it cooling/warming process

What about europe (3, Interesting)

tanveer1979 (530624) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693212)

This summer Europe is reeling under a severe heat wave which has killed several people and also led to cattle deaths.

In case of temparature rising further, people may start using air conditioning but I guess the natural wild life as we know it will be extinct and we will have the tropics movin northwards. Already Mosquitos and flies have started showing up in various places where they were never seen before

Also think about the tropical diseases to which the north folks have absolutely no immunity, epidemics anyone? The article is extremely shallow or too ironic for me to figure out. The possibility of new diseases, epidemics and extensive wildlife destruction is looming and the authors are concerned about maritime shipping routes!!

Re:What about europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693251)

This summer Europe is reeling under a severe heat wave which has killed several people and also led to cattle deaths.

And there is no proof whatsoever that man-made global warming is the cause of this heat wave.

Haven't you seen the studies that suggest that the earth was warmer during the middle ages than it is now?

Re:What about europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693269)

The direct problem is not the warming itself, a few tenths of a degree will not be noticable to people.
The problem is that the sea- and air streams around the world change in pattern. Moist air may be directed to places where it never was, hot air to other places, etc.
This leads to the floodings, heat waves etc. that we have seen.
So it may not be provable (or even not true) that the heat wave is caused by global warming, but it is quite likely that "unusual weather conditions" are.

Melting Ice wont raise the water level?? (1)

krappie (172561) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693224)

Wow, I've never thought of it before. I remember seeing all of those hyped up "year 2000" shows all throughout the 90's on TV. Many of them predicting the end of the world by the year 2000. They all seemed to have the common theme about global warming causing the polar ice caps to melt, and raising the water level, causing many major cities to be entirely flooded. It seemed pretty realistic to me at the time, and made sense. They melt, the water level rises.. right?

Hmm, this article has got me thinking now. Water is strange in the fact that it actually expands when frozen. Now I remember from physics that a glacier would displace its weight in water. So if you take that amount of water, and freeze it, it gets bigger. And that extra volume is the volume of the glacier that floats. It displaces the same amount of space in the water either way. The water level would stay exactly the same whether its frozen or not!

I guess I shouldnt buy into simple concepts I hear on tv without verifying them myself :/

Re:Melting Ice wont raise the water level?? (3, Interesting)

vidarh (309115) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693255)

The North pole melting won't add to sea levels, because all the ice is already in the water, however if the South pole starts melting, it most certainly will raise the water levels due to the simple fact that there is land underneath most of it.

Anti-Warming (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6693233)

I grew up in Florida, have lived most of my life here, and will probably be here for years to come. And I hate hot weather, so I'm totally against this warming trend.

I'm in favor of a good old-fashioned nuclear winter to cool things down. As a bonus, I'm hoping it would decrease the tourist trade.

The only thing I hate more than hot weather is yankees.

still in an ice age chaps (5, Interesting)

cassidyc (167044) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693249)

Well melting ice caps are all well and good, but I've yet to see real evidence that it is related to "global warming" in the sense that the warming is caused by pollution, and not say, the fact that we are still emerging from an ice age??

Historically (geologically speaking) we are not in an ice age when there is, essentially, no ice!

There are many reason purported to the rise in global temperatures, from greenhouse gasses, to sunspot activity to to earths position relative to the sun (Milankovitch cyclical variations) etc.

Also with the removeal of bulk of the ice glaciers, much of the land that was under the weight of the ice is actually rising.

So I've yet to be convinced that we are in any real trouble that we have brought upon ourselves.

CJC

The poor penguins! (1)

eddie can read (631836) | more than 10 years ago | (#6693252)

Where will they move to? This is terrible.

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