Warming to devastate glaciers, Antarctic icesheet - studies

Jan 09, 2011
Global warming may wipe out three-quarters of Europe's alpine glaciers by 2100 and hike sea levels by four metres (13 feet) by the year 3000 through melting the West Antarctic icesheet, two studies published on Sunday said.

Global warming may wipe out three-quarters of Europe's alpine glaciers by 2100 and hike sea levels by four metres (13 feet) by the year 3000 through melting the West Antarctic icesheet, two studies published on Sunday said.

The research places the spotlight on two of the least understood aspects of climate change: how, when and where warming will affect glaciers on which many millions depend for their water, and the problems faced by generations in the far distant future.

The glacier study predicts that mountain glaciers and icecaps will shrink by 15-27 percent in volume terms on average by 2100.

"Ice loss on such a scale may have substantial impacts on regional hydrology and ," it warns.

Some regions will be far worse hit than others because of the altitude of their glaciers, the nature of the terrain and their susceptibility to localised warming.

New Zealand could lose 72 percent (between 65 and 79 percent) of its glaciers, and Europe's Alps 75 percent, meaning a range of between 60 and 90 percent. At the other end of the scale, glacial loss in Greenland is predicted at around eight percent and at some 10 percent in high-mountain Asia.

will drive up world sea levels by an average of 12 centimetres (five inches) by 2100, says the study.

This figure -- which does not include expansion by the oceans as they warm -- largely tallies with an estimate in the landmark Fourth Assessment Report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007.

Geophysicists Valentina Radic and Regine Hock of the University of Alaska base these calculations on a derived from records for more than 300 glaciers between 1961 and 2004.

The model factors in the middle-of-the-road "A1B" scenario for greenhouse-gas emissions, by which Earth's mean surface temperature would rise by 2.8 degrees Celsius (5.04 degrees Fahrenheit) during the 21st century.

The tool was then applied to 19 regions that contain all the world's glaciers and icecaps.

But -- importantly -- it does not include the icesheets of Antarctica and Greenland, where 99 percent of Earth's fresh water is locked up.

If either of these icesheets were to melt significantly, sea levels could rise by an order of metres (many feet), drowning coastal cities.

That very scenario emerges in the second study, which focuses on the inertial effect of greenhouse gases. Carbon molecules emitted by fossil fuels and deforestation linger for many centuries in the atmosphere before breaking apart.

Even if all these emissions were stopped by 2100, the warming machine would continue to function for centuries to come, says the investigation.

It largely bases its forecast on the "A2" emissions scenario, which sees greater carbon pollution by 2100, stoking Earth's temperature by an average 3.4 C (6.1 F) by century's end.

Warming of the middle depths of the Southern Ocean could unleash the "widespread collapse" of the West Antarctic icesheet by the year 3000, it says.

"The inertia in intermediate and deep ocean currents driving into the southern Atlantic means those oceans are only now beginning to warm as a result of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions from the last century," said Shawn Marshall, a professor the University of Calgary in Canada.

"The simulation showed that warming will continue, rather than stop or reverse, on the thousand-year timescale."

The two studies are published online by the journal Nature Geoscience.

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User comments : 39

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deatopmg
2.5 / 5 (16) Jan 09, 2011
just another post-science model.
geokstr
2.2 / 5 (20) Jan 09, 2011
What this study does is improve the likelihood of Geophysicists Valentina Radic and Regine Hock getting huge grants and movie and book deals by 87.6324% by the year 2013. My computer model tells me so.
GuruShabu
2.2 / 5 (18) Jan 09, 2011
Exactly deatopmg!
These guys use models that are absolutely superficial.
To give an example, none of the present models (YES NONE!) take into account the most influential single weather driver in the planet Earth, which is the pacific ocean El Niño into their calculations and still come with these statements.
These guys are helpless.
This global warming that now has changed to Climate change because they cannot figure aout if the weather is going warmer or cooler is much more like a religion extremism than science unfortunately and the most influenced people are the good guys but with a total lack of scientific background. They guys believe and that's it!
GuruShabu
1.5 / 5 (15) Jan 09, 2011
yes deatopmg.
And worse! None of these models (yes NONE!) take into account the most single influence on global weather which is the El Nino.
Do you imagine predicting 3000 years ahead and do not take into account El Nino just to mention one single flaw but there are more.
Unfortunately, these Global Warming (which now has changed to Weather Change because the guys could not know if the temperatures were going up or down!) alarmists act on faith rather than in facts. Even worse, the very best and kind people that are dragged to defend this very appealing statements lack any scientific background and are guided only by faith. So, ultimately we have another cycle of faith disturbing and compromising science again in the beginning of the 21st century. Unbelievable!
GuruShabu
1.7 / 5 (12) Jan 09, 2011
Dear all, I have written twice about the same lines because my browser reported that my message was not publicised. Now I can see two very similar comments therefore my apologies for this little glitch.
apex01
2.5 / 5 (11) Jan 09, 2011
These global warming/climate change articles are getting old.
lifewebb
3.9 / 5 (7) Jan 09, 2011
Did Physorg make the following statement or the scientists? "Carbon molecules emitted by fossil fuels and deforestation linger for many centuries in the atmosphere before breaking apart." Whoever made it is writing in a biased and untruthful way. Plant growth, plankton growth and absorption into the soils and oceans remove carbon from whatever source, continuously. I don't recall the % of emitted carbon estimated to hang around in the atmosphere but to make this blanket statement as though 100% of it remains there is incorrect. The scientists or Physorg writer failed to make a vital qualification about the fate of the emission of carbon from fossil fuels and it is wrong to have written in this way. It is typical scare story writing instead of writing in a balanced way.

Also, how does anyone really know how long carbon from whatever source stays in the atmosphere? I see wildly different statements about longevity.
ubavontuba
2 / 5 (16) Jan 09, 2011
I'm confused. Just a month ago, physorg had an article proclaiming the Antarctic icesheets were safe:

http:/www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-arctic-icecap-safe-runaway.html

And here's a fancy-pants Cambridge paper which claims the Antartic icesheets are growing:

http:/www.cpom.org/research/djw-ptrsa364.pdf

So if some climatologists say it's melting, and some say it's growing, can we split the difference and conclude it's stable?
geokstr
1.9 / 5 (13) Jan 09, 2011
I'm confused. Just a month ago, physorg had an article proclaiming the Antarctic icesheets were safe:

Then the arbiters of scientific correctness, who control the grant money, got to them.
bbd
2.1 / 5 (7) Jan 09, 2011
I'm confused. Just a month ago, physorg had an article proclaiming the Antarctic icesheets were safe:

I agree. And after reading that article, I went out and bought a Hummer. Oh, Now what am I to do?!
Ronan
4.6 / 5 (10) Jan 09, 2011
Ubavontuba: The article you cite states that the ice caps will eventually settle at a significant fraction of their current extent if the release of greenhouse gases is curtailed. This article is describing the course that events will take if the emissions are not curtailed. There's no contradiction between the two papers; they're just dealing with two different emissions scenarios.
ted208
2.1 / 5 (11) Jan 09, 2011
I'm modeled out.
This is more tired global warming fantasy's regurgitated or remodeled, when are you guys going to get out and do some real research.
Ive lost my desire to be green in any way shape or form thanks to this kind of endless B***S*** reporting.
Shootist
1.6 / 5 (13) Jan 09, 2011
"The Polar Bears will be fine." - Freeman Dyson
GuruShabu
1.6 / 5 (13) Jan 09, 2011
Ted,
I could't agree more!
I would love to be GREEN but the sort of extremism and the lack of factuality that pervades the Global Warming freaks got me sick along the years.
I don't know what to do, because would love to bring these guys back to the planet! Unfortunately they think psychologically instead of geologically when they consider the plante Earth.
If you go to the top of Mt Blank in the Alpes and you dig a bit what do you find?
Shells! So, how these people think we can preserve the Great Barrier Reef for ever?
Sustainability is another B**S** spread all over the Internet and contaminating the hearts and minds of these nice people that support those naïve views.
Let me quote:"Nothing is sustainable forever in nature. In the long run systems evolve and transform themselves into something else."

Eric_B
1.9 / 5 (9) Jan 09, 2011
None of these articles about global warming are true because if it were we'd have to DO SOMETHING about it and that would interrupt TV viewers between trips in their SUVs picking up more mounds of comestible salty starchy greasy goodness.
ronwagn
1.9 / 5 (9) Jan 09, 2011
We will only know about the melting when the oceans rise. The only way to know that is direct observation of landmarks. There are some crazy theories being spouted about oceans rising. Even different levels in different oceans!
Eric_B
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 09, 2011
And besides...I have my golden ticket to an underground city where I will spend the rest of my days with the elite, secure in luxury while the rest of you peasants fight it out in a barren wasteland to convert each other into mounds of comestible salty starchy greasy goodness.

Mmmm....
Howhot
3.2 / 5 (11) Jan 09, 2011
The El Nino (and it counter part, La Nina) are large patches of Pacific ocean of hot (or cold) surface water. It effects water evaporation that feeds into earths weather systems. It can change depending on currents, seasons.

Global Warming, is recongnized as an increase in the global "averaged" temperature. It is long term, very real. There are competing theories, The AGW theory is that it is caused by the sudden release of CO2 from burning fossil fuels that have powered our modern industrial growth.

The other theory is that AM-radio is releasing large amounts of BOGONS that cause the listeners to believe all kind of bogus crap!
GuruShabu
1.4 / 5 (11) Jan 09, 2011
The El Nino (and it counter part, La Nina) are large patches of Pacific ocean of hot (or cold) surface water. It effects water evaporation that feeds into earths weather systems. It can change depending on currents, seasons.

Global Warming, is recongnized as an increase in the global "averaged" temperature. It is long term, very real. There are competing theories, The AGW theory is that it is caused by the sudden release of CO2 from burning fossil fuels that have powered our modern industrial growth.

The other theory is that AM-radio is releasing large amounts of BOGONS that cause the listeners to believe all kind of bogus crap!

Never forget that ALL CO2 fossil one day was in the atmosphere!
The right vern should be :"it affects water evaporation"...not effects.
Scientifica
2.2 / 5 (10) Jan 09, 2011
I can't believe they are still trying to get their global warming BS out there...GIVE IT A REST!!!!
MorituriMax
2.1 / 5 (7) Jan 10, 2011
When are we going to start crying over all the inland seas, oceans, and continents that existed at one time on Earth and then disappeared over the aeons?
Howhot
4.3 / 5 (11) Jan 10, 2011
Never forget that ALL CO2 fossil one day was in the atmosphere!
The right vern should be :"it affects water evaporation"...not effects.

Well don't forget that that gallon of fossil fuel is actually dinosaur squezz-ins; millions of years of dinos of all types, sizes and shapes; swamps, forrests and ocean critters all squeezed into pools of organic trapped underground for 10s of 100s of millions of years (or just buried deep). It's a lot of collected, sequestered CO2.

ubavontuba
1 / 5 (8) Jan 10, 2011
Ubavontuba: The article you cite states that the ice caps will eventually settle at a significant fraction of their current extent if the release of greenhouse gases is curtailed. This article is describing the course that events will take if the emissions are not curtailed. There's no contradiction between the two papers; they're just dealing with two different emissions scenarios.
You didn't read the Cambridge paper?
Walfy
3.8 / 5 (10) Jan 10, 2011
Interesting article, lame comments.
GuruShabu
1.5 / 5 (15) Jan 10, 2011
Interesting article, lame comments.

Interesting?
OMG, the same B***S*** without any scientific basis and you say it is "interesting"...
Your comment is interesting, mate!
geokstr
1.4 / 5 (11) Jan 10, 2011
Well don't forget that that gallon of fossil fuel is actually dinosaur squezz-ins; millions of years of dinos of all types, sizes and shapes; swamps, forrests and ocean critters all squeezed into pools of organic trapped underground for 10s of 100s of millions of years (or just buried deep). It's a lot of collected, sequestered CO2.

And, well, don't forget, for something like 170 MILLION years IN A ROW, what enabled there to be so many "dinosaur squezz-ins" (sic) (whatever the hell those are), and swamps and forrests (sic) and ocean critters in the first place was uniformly higher temperatures than today, with CO2 levels up to 10 TIMES higher than currently exist, with nary a glacier or polar cap in sight.

But the world will end next Tuesday unless we turn over our economies to the Collective so they can redistribute the wealth to each according to his needs.
aintry
3.8 / 5 (10) Jan 10, 2011
I didn't know ostriches could read, much less post comments with their heads so firmly planted in their own sandboxes. I'm glad they can, though. Because now I feel 100% better knowing global warming will go away if I just don't look at it. Think I'll go turn on FOX News or listen to that fat guy on the radio for a while to learn more about real science so I can hang with you guys in Never-Clever Land.
Jimee
2.5 / 5 (4) Jan 10, 2011
Perhaps some suspect others' motives while we ignore their own. There are many factors, but the trend seems clear. Too much is at stake for too many for us to be dismissive of cataclysmic possibilities. Hubris, anyone?
Howhot
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 10, 2011
And, well, don't forget, for something like 170 MILLION years IN A ROW, what enabled there to be so many "dinosaur squezz-ins" (sic) (whatever the hell those are), and swamps and forrests (sic) and ocean critters in the first place was uniformly higher temperatures than today, with CO2 levels up to 10 TIMES higher than currently exist, with nary a glacier or polar cap in sight.

CO2 was not 10 times higher than it was to day (that would be 3900 ppm Venus like).

170 million years in a row. OK. But modern humans (the Industrial AGE) have only been around for 200 years and look what we've done done to kill the environment. Just ponder the fact that 1.4 million years ago; CO2 was steady at 300ppm. In the last 200 years it has grown to 400ppm

I think there was only one time in the history of Earth that CO2 levels where as high (with life) and that was the Pangia period at 480ppm.

geokstr
1 / 5 (8) Jan 11, 2011
CO2 was not 10 times higher than it was to day (that would be 3900 ppm Venus like).

With a quick google I was able to come up with this which claims 5X higher 200 million years ago (you have to add in a "t" in "http" to complete the addy:
htp://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/07_1.shtml

I have seen other sites that say 5-10X (max 3,800 ppm) during most of the 170 million years of the dinos but can't find them right now.

And at 10X present CO2, that still only makes it .4% of our atmosphere. According to wiki, Venus' atmosphere is 96.5% CO2. Hmmm. That works out to Venus percent of CO2 being 241 times higher than than ours at maximum and 2,400X our current level.

That's a pretty huge exaggeration on your part to call .4% "Venus-like", non?
Howhot
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 14, 2011
Geokstr; the article in the website is pretty old; 1997; but assuming that 170 Million year ago atmospheric CO2 was 3800ppm, if that same 3800ppm was somehow today's CO2 level we all be cooked. I would imagine we would have no polar ice caps; extremely high ocean waters, incredible and brutal weather events and everything else global warming predicts.

ppm to percent, I'm impressed.
Skepticus_Rex
1.4 / 5 (9) Jan 16, 2011
Even if all these emissions were stopped by 2100, the warming machine would continue to function for centuries to come, says the investigation.


That is interesting considering that it takes only 15 years to remove nearly half our emissions from the atmosphere, according to the relevant literature.

As to Howhot's continued pseudoscientific hype, I don't think I need to say anything. It speaks for itself.

Pangaea being the only time with higher CO2 levels? That is one of the most crackpottish things I have read in a while. There have been several times when CO2 was much higher than at present, and that with life all around the planet, too.

CO2 was not 10 times higher than it was to day (that would be 3900 ppm Venus like).


Using 'ppm' to measure Venus' majority atmospheric CO2 component and compare it to earth? Laughable (and your figure is quite wrong). But, if you insist, note that Venus' level of atmospheric CO2 is about 965,000 ppm at abt 96.5% of CO2.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Jan 16, 2011
That is interesting considering that it takes only 15 years to remove nearly half our emissions from the atmosphere, according to the relevant literature.
It takes 15 years to remove 1 years worth of emissions from the atmosphere if you're referring to the paper I read. Can you call out your source?
Skepticus_Rex
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 16, 2011
I have tried to link to the information but Physorg.com blocks my posts if they contain links. The information I read was found on an environmental website supporting the standard views of AGW/AGCC, however.

In that paper, it explains that the reason that emissions levels do not rise faster is because all carbon sinks absorbed nearly 50% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in a period of 15 years. I'll have to hunt up the source again and find a way to reference it but I know what I read.
Skepticus_Rex
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 16, 2011
I was unable to find the detailed information at the moment, so here is a summary article from a FAQ containing the relevant data based upon various papers:

Natural processes such as photosynthesis, respiration, decay and sea surface gas exchange lead to massive exchanges, sources and sinks of CO2 between the land and atmosphere (estimated at ~120 GtC yr–1) and the ocean and atmosphere (estimated at ~90 GtC yr–1; see figure 7.3). The natural sinks of carbon produce a small net uptake of CO2 of approximately 3.3 GtC yr–1 over the last 15 years, partially offsetting the human-caused emis¬sions. Were it not for the natural sinks taking up nearly half the human-produced CO2 over the past 15 years, atmospheric concentrations would have grown even more dramatically.


(See /education/pd/climate/factsheets/areincrease.pdf on the oceanservice.noaa.gov website, Frequently Asked Question 7.1)
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Jan 16, 2011
In that paper, it explains that the reason that emissions levels do not rise faster is because all carbon sinks absorbed nearly 50% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in a period of 15 years. I'll have to hunt up the source again and find a way to reference it but I know what I read.
You're assuming that these sinks will continue to do so into the future. The problem is, observations say they won't. Many of the purported sinks are showing slowdown or reversal.
Skepticus_Rex
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 16, 2011
You're assuming that these sinks will continue to do so into the future. The problem is, observations say they won't. Many of the purported sinks are showing slowdown or reversal.


I am assuming nothing. I am well aware that there could be variances and I am also aware that predictions based upon apparent slowing of sinks may well turn out to be incorrect as additional data comes in. I am also aware that various papers have conflicting views on the subject matter. There is no consensus as of yet.

Alternatively, it could well be that the information will turn out to be correct in the long run. Unfortunately, there is too much uncertainty in the statistics.

Nothing is set in stone, so far as my views on the subject go. The same can be said with respect to climate science. That is why I still maintain my 'wait and see' skeptical approach to the matter.
Skepticus_Rex_
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 17, 2011
Of course during the Little Ice Age there were glaciers in the Sahara and the Amazon basin, near Rio. I have the links but Physorg won't let me post them. See how quickly they melted (proof, they are not there any more)
Skepticus_Rex
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 17, 2011
Note the rear underscore at the end of the above MikeyK sockpuppet risen from the dead. I did not post that. MikeyK/treemikey did under one of his many sockpuppets.

Note, sockpuppet, complaint has been filed and you will be tracked to a username and range of addresses. Good way to get yourself banned for abuse...

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