Global Warming Follies


Well maybe not tomorrow but…..

Posted in Common Sense by tjgavin on March 23, 2009

Is this another “Oops! Never mind”? You decide.

How many times have you seen the word “collapse” used lately to describe what could unfold should human-caused global warming, and more particularly warming seas, erode the West Antarctic Ice Sheet? (One metric: A Google search for “West Antarctic Ice Sheet” and “collapse” gets 29,800 hits.)

That seems like a lot. But what do I know? On the other hand, what if that “collapse” takes thousands of years to happen?

…But this paper, by David Pollard at Penn State and Robert M. DeConto of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst… ran a five-million-year computer simulation of the ice sheet’s comings and goings, using data on past actual climate and ocean conditions gleaned from seabed samples (the subject of the other paper) to validate the resulting patterns.

The bottom line? In this simulation, the ice sheet does collapse when waters beneath fringing ice shelves warm 7 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit or so, but the process — at its fastest — takes thousands of years. Over all, the pace of sea-level rise from the resulting ice loss doesn’t go beyond about 1.5 feet per century, Dr. Pollard said in an interview, a far cry from what was thought possible a couple of decades ago.

…Over all, the loss of the West Antarctic ice from warming is appearing “more likely a definite thing to worry about on a thousand-year time scale but not a hundred years,” Dr. Pollard said.

Seems like more of a thousand-year “shrug” to me. Or maybe a thousand-year “sprawl”. Certainly NOT a “collapse”. For those near the ocean as this “collapse”  happens, here’s my advice: about every hundred years or so, take a step backwards.

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