Study links Greenland ice sheet collapse, sea level rise 400,000 years ago

Jun 25, 2014
Co-author Anders Carlson (Oregon State University) conducting field research at the south Greenland ice sheet at its inland margin near Narsaq. The new study by Reyes and colleagues suggests that much of southern Greenland was nearly ice-free during a long period of warmer-than-present climate about 400,000 years ago. Credit: Alberto Reyes

A new study suggests that a warming period more than 400,000 years ago pushed the Greenland ice sheet past its stability threshold, resulting in a nearly complete deglaciation of southern Greenland and raising global sea levels some 4-6 meters.

The study is one of the first to zero in on how the vast Greenland ice sheet responded to warmer temperatures during that period, which were caused by changes in the Earth's orbit around the sun.

Results of the study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, are being published this week in the journal Nature.

"The climate 400,000 years ago was not that much different than what we see today, or at least what is predicted for the end of the century," said Anders Carlson, an associate professor at Oregon State University and co-author on the study. "The forcing was different, but what is important is that the region crossed the threshold allowing the southern portion of the ice sheet to all but disappear.

"This may give us a better sense of what may happen in the future as temperatures continue rising," Carlson added.

Few reliable models and little proxy data exist to document the extent of the Greenland ice sheet loss during a period known as the Marine Isotope Stage 11. This was an exceptionally long warm period between ice ages that resulted in a global of about 6-13 meters above present. However, scientists have been unsure of how much rise could be attributed to Greenland, and how much may have resulted from the melting of Antarctic ice sheets or other causes.

To find the answer, the researchers examined sediment cores collected off the coast of Greenland from what is called the Eirik Drift. During several years of research, they sampled the chemistry of the glacial stream sediment on the island and discovered that different parts of Greenland have unique chemical features. During the presence of ice sheets, the sediments are scraped off and carried into the water where they are deposited in the Eirik Drift.

"Each terrain has a distinct fingerprint," Carlson noted. "They also have different tectonic histories and so changes between the terrains allow us to predict how old the sediments are, as well as where they came from. The sediments are only deposited when there is significant ice to erode the terrain. The absence of terrestrial deposits in the sediment suggests the absence of ice.

"Not only can we estimate how much ice there was," he added, "but the isotopic signature can tell us where ice was present, or from where it was missing."

A research team is hiking to sample the Greenland ice-sheet margin in south Greenland. Credit: Kelsey Winsor, courtesy Oregon State University

This first "ice sheet tracer" utilizes strontium, lead and neodymium isotopes to track the terrestrial chemistry.

The researchers' analysis of the scope of the ice loss suggests that deglaciation in southern Greenland 400,000 years ago would have accounted for at least four meters – and possibly up to six meters – of global sea level rise. Other studies have shown, however, that sea levels during that period were at least six meters above present, and may have been as much as 13 meters higher.

Carlson said the ice sheet loss likely went beyond the southern edges of Greenland, though not all the way to the center, which has not been ice-free for at least one million years.

Margin of the Greenland ice sheet near Kangerlussuaq. Reyes and colleagues analyzed sediment eroded from Precambrian bedrock (foreground) as part of their study of past ice sheet behaviour. Credit: Alberto Reyes

In their Nature article, the researchers contrasted the events of Marine Isotope Stage 11 with another warming period that occurred about 125,000 years ago and resulted in a sea level rise of 5-10 meters. Their analysis of the sediment record suggests that not as much of the Greenland ice sheet was lost – in fact, only enough to contribute to a sea level rise of less than 2.5 meters.

"However, other studies have shown that Antarctica may have been unstable at the time and melting there may have made up the difference," Carlson pointed out.

The researchers say the discovery of an tracer that can be documented through sediment core analysis is a major step to understanding the history of ice sheets in Greenland – and their impact on global climate and sea level changes. They acknowledge the need for more widespread coring data and temperature reconstructions.

"This is the first step toward more complete knowledge of the ice history," Carlson said, "but it is an important one."

Explore further: Image: Southwestern coast of Greenland captured from orbit

More information: South Greenland ice-sheet collapse during Marine Isotope Stage 11, Nature, dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13456

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User comments : 49

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Benni
1.8 / 5 (25) Jun 25, 2014
So why did the ice melt in the first place? Neanderthal campfires?
Vietvet
4.2 / 5 (25) Jun 25, 2014
So why did the ice melt in the first place? Neanderthal campfires?


You get an F for reading comprehension.
Modernmystic
3.5 / 5 (15) Jun 25, 2014
So why did the ice melt in the first place? Neanderthal campfires?


Does it have to be either or? We all know that climate can be affected by natural cycles AND from human activity.

My guess is, no, it wasn't due to Neanderthal campfires 400,000 years ago but natural cycles...unlike today's current situation.
Vietvet
4.8 / 5 (20) Jun 25, 2014
It's right there in the second paragraph. "caused by changes in Earth's orbit around the sun".
JamesG
1.3 / 5 (16) Jun 25, 2014
I'm praying for global warming. If it will just send New York and the whole west coast into the ocean, we will all be better off. The rest of us will adjust.
Modernmystic
4.5 / 5 (15) Jun 25, 2014
I'm praying for global warming. If it will just send New York and the whole west coast into the ocean, we will all be better off.


What if the New York and the all the cities on the West Coast got nuked? You think the country would be better off? How do you think that would affect the economy (we'll just focus on money assuming your as self centered as you sound) in your corner of the world?

When you say inane stuff like that and think it's funny, or worse yet actually believe it you probably could benefit from a long hard look at why you did...
PS3
1.3 / 5 (16) Jun 25, 2014


So why did the ice melt in the first place? Neanderthal campfires?


You get an F for reading comprehension.


Pretty sure it's a joke to mock the global warming fools. I wonder why location in solar system and galaxy is never brought up as a cause for warming now?
JohnGee
4.4 / 5 (13) Jun 25, 2014
...Because we know the cycles involved. That's like asking why the sun isn't out at night.
howhot2
4.2 / 5 (17) Jun 25, 2014


So why did the ice melt in the first place? Neanderthal campfires?


You get an F for reading comprehension.


Pretty sure it's a joke to mock the global warming fools. I wonder why location in solar system and galaxy is never brought up as a cause for warming now?

You get an F too for playing the denier dim bulb. It has been factored in already. Did you not think that we haven't already considered something as dramatic as planetary shifts, worm holes, time warps and intergalactic motion in our calculations of mankind's global extinction by global warming?
To the 'global warming fools', I'm Exaggerating of course.

You deniers need to get a handle on this stupidity thing you have going.
cantdrive85
1.3 / 5 (16) Jun 26, 2014
...Because we know the cycles involved. That's like asking why the sun isn't out at night.

That's quite the laughable statement!
Egleton
4.2 / 5 (10) Jun 26, 2014
Disprove climate change, earn $10 000
http://www.weathe...k-50391?
kelman66
4.3 / 5 (11) Jun 26, 2014
So why did the ice melt in the first place? Neanderthal campfires?


Glad you brought that up.
The primary argument that deniers use is the reasoning that humans cannot cause climate change solely because climate has changed prior to our arrival.
Forest fires existed for millions of years and were never caused by humans until one day humans cause their first forest fire.
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (16) Jun 26, 2014
I would say the primary argument is that AGWites have insufficient data and theory to support their faith.
kelman66
4.3 / 5 (11) Jun 26, 2014
I would say the primary argument is that AGWites have insufficient data and theory to support their faith.


How would you know? Clearly you havent looked and fail in the use of logic.
How is it that you have come to possess the knowledge the climate has actually changed in the past? Why is it that you accept this is as Scientific fact?
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (15) Jun 26, 2014
What BS:
""As temperatures rise, toward the end of the century, less than an hour of activity outdoors in the shade could cause a moderately fit individual to suffer heat stroke," said climatologist Robert Kopp of Rutgers University, lead scientific author of the report. "That's something that doesn't exist anywhere in the world today." "
http://www.reuter...20140624
There are MANY places in the world, today, where a moderately fit individual would suffer heat stroke in an hour.
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (14) Jun 26, 2014
Why is it that you accept this is as Scientific fact?

What is the basis of your 'scientific fact' of AGW?
Remember, correlation does not imply causation.
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (13) Jun 26, 2014
"The actual nihilists are those who refuse to accept any scientific information that undermines their claim that the globe is warming and humans are responsible for it. Cults are like that. Regardless of evidence contradicting their beliefs, cultists persist in blind faith. "
"Many in the media, including some newspaper editorial pages, refuse to broadcast or print information that challenges and in some cases refutes arguments about global warming, claiming it is "settled science." It is nothing of the kind, as any open-minded person can see by a simple Google search.

This is about government gaining more control over the lives of its citizens. Already they are in our bathrooms, our cars, our light bulbs and so many other areas that have the cumulative effect of encroaching on our freedoms. Government is not the final arbiter of truth, yet the global-warming cultists worship at its shrine."
http://www.realcl...al_denie
supamark23
3.8 / 5 (13) Jun 26, 2014
This is about government gaining more control over the lives of its citizens. Already they are in our bathrooms, our cars, our light bulbs and so many other areas that have the cumulative effect of encroaching on our freedoms. Government is not the final arbiter of truth, yet the global-warming cultists worship at its shrine."
http://www.realcl..._real_de


The only people who think like you do are mentally retarded.
thermodynamics
4.4 / 5 (13) Jun 26, 2014
Rygg-the-dumber said:
Many in the media, including some newspaper editorial pages, refuse to broadcast or print information that challenges and in some cases refutes arguments about global warming, claiming it is "settled science." It is nothing of the kind, as any open-minded person can see by a simple Google search.


So, I did a simple Google search for Unicorns. I got:

About 4,550,000 results (0.24 seconds)

Clearly there is a significant debate going on over Unicorns. They must exist!!!
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (13) Jun 26, 2014
It is interesting the AGW high priest Mann has chosen to use the power of the state to protect his reputation and not let his work speak for him.
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (14) Jun 26, 2014
This is about government gaining more control over the lives of its citizens. Already they are in our bathrooms, our cars, our light bulbs and so many other areas that have the cumulative effect of encroaching on our freedoms. Government is not the final arbiter of truth, yet the global-warming cultists worship at its shrine."
http://www.realcl..._real_de


The only people who think like you do are mentally retarded.

"

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

Mahatma Gandhi
"
We must be close to winning.
kelman66
4.5 / 5 (8) Jun 26, 2014
This is about government gaining more control over the lives of its citizens. Already they are in our bathrooms, our cars, our light bulbs and so many other areas that have the cumulative effect of encroaching on our freedoms. Government is not the final arbiter of truth, yet the global-warming cultists worship at its shrine."
http://www.realcl..._real_de


The only people who think like you do are mentally retarded.

"

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

Mahatma Gandhi
"
We must be close to winning.


Max Planck: "Science advances one funeral at a time. A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."
kelman66
4.4 / 5 (13) Jun 26, 2014
Why is it that you accept this is as Scientific fact?

What is the basis of your 'scientific fact' of AGW?
Remember, correlation does not imply causation.


You first. You started with a circular argument and you didnt answer the question.
thermodynamics
4.4 / 5 (13) Jun 26, 2014
Why is it that you accept this is as Scientific fact?

What is the basis of your 'scientific fact' of AGW?
Remember, correlation does not imply causation.


You first. You started with a circular argument and you didnt answer the question.


Rygg never answers any questions. Instead he mines factoids and spits them back as though they were authority. I think he doesn't recognize the difference between reasoned logic and factoids.
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (13) Jun 26, 2014
It's up to the AGWites to make the case for CO2.
So far, it's weak, based upon THE CLIMATE MODEL.
thermodynamics
4.4 / 5 (14) Jun 26, 2014
It's up to the AGWites to make the case for CO2.
So far, it's weak, based upon THE CLIMATE MODEL.


Rygg:

What do you mean by "THE CLIMATE MODEL?"

If you mean the physics of GHG behavior, that is well known fact that serves as the basis of everything from industrial heat transfer to spectroscopy. Please point out where it fails.
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (13) Jun 26, 2014
"

It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.

Richard P. Feynman
"
THE CLIMATE MODEL is how CO2 feedback are 'tweaked' and is the only 'theory' that CO2 will cause a rise in global temperature.
runrig
4.3 / 5 (12) Jun 26, 2014
What BS:
""As temperatures rise, toward the end of the century, less than an hour of activity outdoors in the shade could cause a moderately fit individual to suffer heat stroke," said climatologist Robert ....."
There are MANY places in the world, today, where a moderately fit individual would suffer heat stroke in an hour.

Actually ryggy there are none.....
Why?
You'd need to understand meteorology, and physiology - so you're doubly disadvanted.

FYI Human skin needs to maintain a temp of 35C to keep the the core temp at 37C. This means that the wet bulb temp needs to be less than 35. Nowhere in the world does it (currently) exceed 31. So as long as a body is free to sweat and evaporate that sweat then it cannot suffer heat stress. He/she WILL if heavily clothed or lacking hydration. The point is given projected warming parts of the world will have Tw's of 35C.

FFS
runrig
4.4 / 5 (13) Jun 26, 2014
It's up to the AGWites to make the case for CO2.
So far, it's weak, based upon THE CLIMATE MODEL.

You f***g tart ryggy .... It's based on empirical physics, namely the exactly well known warming effects of CO2 as a GHG - Which are then fed into a Supercomputer to quantify (within error bounds) what that unavoidable warming of 40% extra, and increasing, since the beginning of the industrial revolution ... Will cause.
The case is made and has been in physics terms for ~150 yrs. you don't get to deny the way the universe works because it don't fit your TP ideology. Try fitting that to the world and not the other way about.

You really are a top Troll - getting us to feed you ad nauseum with your parroted bollocks.

The only point of dispute is how BAD it will be and NOT whether it is/will occur.

Don't put the cart before the horse and turn your denier weirdness onto the models - they're just today's slide-rules working out where that heat's going.

FFS
thermodynamics
4.4 / 5 (13) Jun 27, 2014
Run: Don't sweat the idiot Rygg. He makes his comments that are without merit and then skulks away quietly or brings up something unrelated to the issues. He cannot support any of his comments with math or science (he is just does not have the capacity) as he has shown countless times.
strangedays
4.1 / 5 (14) Jun 28, 2014
Agreed Thermo. I think it is a big game of 'bait the comments section'. I have recently seen Rygg make statements that are very easily shown to be false - which elicits rebuttal from people like runrig - and leads to long heated exchanges. For example 'the earth has been warming for the last 10,000 years'. Of course a simple assertion, that is easily disproved. Shortly, the same assertion is made on another thread - causing the same heated exchange. Others play the same game - Uba, and Shootist come to mind. If you have time and inclination to play pop a mole - I guess it is an OK way to spend a few minutes - but I am more and more understanding the admonition to not feed the trolls. It can be discouraging - makes it look like we are all a bunch of 5 year olds - having the same arguments over and over. If you watch the rating system - you see that actually the trolls get down rated a lot - and runrig gets a lot of 5's. The tide is turning in terms of global warming (cont).
strangedays
4.1 / 5 (13) Jun 28, 2014
cont. It is hard to argue with the warmest spring on record, or the collapse of the ice sheets. They do argue of course - but clearly the weight of evidence is marginalizing them more and more. On the wold stage - reality is kicking in more and more - and we are slowly turning the ship, and learning to do what we need to do to live more sustainably. The economics of things like wind and solar are about to kick in - so I don't think it matters too much. They will go down in history as a very interesting piece of our collective psychopathology. Definitely strange days.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (11) Jun 28, 2014
Which are then fed into a Supercomputer to quantify (within error bounds) what that unavoidable warming of 40% extra, and increasing, since the beginning of the industrial revolution ... Will cause.


How well has that worked out?

"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.

Richard P. Feynman"

The theory, THE CLIMATE MODEL, is not agreeing well with the experiment lately.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (11) Jun 28, 2014
Nowhere in the world does it (currently) exceed 31.


"The absolute highest dew point recorded in the region and therefore the world (of which I am aware) was 95° at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia at 3 p.m. on July 8, 2003. "
http://www.wunder...eratures

runrig
4.4 / 5 (13) Jun 28, 2014
Nowhere in the world does it (currently) exceed 31.


"The absolute highest dew point recorded in the region and therefore the world (of which I am aware) was 95° at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia at 3 p.m. on July 8, 2003. "

"A dew point of 91 °F (33 °C) was observed at 2 p.m. on July 12, 1987 in Melbourne, Florida. A dew point of 90 °F (32 °C) has been observed in the United States on at least two occasions: Appleton, Wisconsin at 5 p.m. on 13 July 1995 and New Orleans Naval Air Station at 5 p.m. on 30 July 1987. A dew point of 95 °F (35 °C) was observed at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia at 3 p.m. on 8 July 8 2003. DEW POINTS THIS HIGH ARE EXTREMELY RARE OCCURRENCES."

You originally said....
"There are MANY places in the world, today, where a moderately fit individual would suffer heat stroke in an hour."

And, as I said, that statement, like the vast majority you spam this site with, was bollocks.
runrig
4.3 / 5 (11) Jun 28, 2014
cont. It is hard to argue with the warmest spring on record, or the collapse of the ice sheets. They do argue of course - but clearly the weight of evidence is marginalizing them more and more. On the wold stage - reality is kicking in more and more - and we are slowly turning the ship, and learning to do what we need to do to live more sustainably. The economics of things like wind and solar are about to kick in - so I don't think it matters too much. They will go down in history as a very interesting piece of our collective psychopathology. Definitely strange days.

All very true Strange....

However , as I've said many times on here - ignorance MUST be denied.

That's why I do it - simples.

Those in ownership of knowledge MUST state it, or else civilisation will devolve .

Just look at the march of (extreme) Islam.

We'd be back in the middle ages if they win ...,. and so with the likes of ryggy and a few others on here as well.
strangedays
4.2 / 5 (10) Jun 28, 2014
Just look at the march of (extreme) Islam.


I could not agree more runrig - and I often talk about the comparison between situations like Iraq, and the ISIS group, and the anti science crap like Rygg keeps throwing around. It is definitely part of our current psychopathology. I think it is great that you have the fortitude to keep banging your head against the wall - I will chime in if I feel I have a little energy. I can only do pop a mole in short bursts :-)
Returners
2 / 5 (5) Jun 29, 2014
What BS:
""As temperatures rise, toward the end of the century, less than an hour of activity outdoors in the shade could cause a moderately fit individual to suffer heat stroke," said climatologist Robert Kopp of Rutgers University, lead scientific author of the report. "That's something that doesn't exist anywhere in the world today." "
http://www.reuter...20140624
There are MANY places in the world, today, where a moderately fit individual would suffer heat stroke in an hour.


Rygg:
In this case I agree with you.

This guy is an air-conditioned bone-head who's probably never had a job outside.

They are called "construction workers", and while the July/August heat in the Gulf states is oppressive due to 98-105 degree highs, and absurd humidity, they've nevertheless dealt with it for 400 years. See Arizona and the other desert states for people who deal with "drier but hotter" conditions all the time...
Returners
1 / 5 (8) Jun 29, 2014
It's right there in the second paragraph. "caused by changes in Earth's orbit around the sun".


Yeah, well there's problems with that too, for example, you can't model what you don't know: Past comet/asteroid collisions with gaseous planets, perhaps including Venus, but especially Jupiter and Saturn, as well as mid and long-term comets or dwarf planets we just haven't discovered yet, which mean be on very highly elliptical orbits. Now these events wouldn't make some gigantic difference over a few centuries, but over several thousand years that change in the average of the mass position, of the unknown absorbed objects or unknown long period objects, would make a significant difference too.

Since the position of Jupiter and Saturn has the lowest precision, that's really the basis for the other precisions. A 1" per 6000 Earth years for Earth, fine, but after a few cycles of Jupiter and Saturn being off by thrice as much, things would eventually get weird.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (8) Jun 29, 2014
Those in ownership of knowledge MUST state it, or else civilisation will devolve .

Socialism has resulted in the murder of millions of human beings.
AGWites promote socialism. Why?

And, as I said, that statement, like the vast majority you spam this site with, was bollocks.

Rummy said : "Nowhere in the world does it (currently) exceed 31."
Which is a lie.
Returners
1 / 5 (5) Jun 29, 2014
Nowhere in the world does it (currently) exceed 31.


"The absolute highest dew point recorded in the region and therefore the world (of which I am aware) was 95° at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia at 3 p.m. on July 8, 2003. "
http://www.wunder...eratures



This probably needs to be updated, but I'm not sure. It's a 2011 article.

It rained at around 115 degrees in one of the desert mid-east nations last year. That doesn't necessarily mean the dew point was that high, but it was probably higher than 95.

About the same time, there was a similar rain event in the U.S.

This used to be thought to be very rare, but now we have professional and amateur weather stations EVERYWHERE, not to mention multi-spectral weather satellites, which past generations did not have.

If you weren't standing there, on site, when it happened 25+ years ago, you would not have known the event happened.
Returners
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 29, 2014
Okay...

Goodness, that's actually already been two years.

http://www.wunder...lifornia

The 115f degrees was actually in California.

the 109f was in Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

That's Rain at 115f.

That's got to be absurdly oppressive conditions right before it happens.
plaasjaapie
3 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2014
"The climate 400,000 years ago was not that much different than what we see today, or at least what is predicted for the end of the century," said Anders Carlson, an associate professor at Oregon State University and co-author on the study. "

You've got to love this kind of misdirection! :-D
runrig
4.2 / 5 (10) Jun 29, 2014


And, as I said, that statement, like the vast majority you spam this site with, was bollocks.

Rummy said : "Nowhere in the world does it (currently) exceed 31."
Which is a lie.

Alright, I should have put in the words 'very rarely'.

http://www.ccrc.u...ulb.html

And there are very good reasons why this has to be the case - in the Dhahran example it is the juxtaposing of hot desert next to very warm waters. The simple matter is that air that hot/wet very very much wants to rise..... And thank god it does.
No you are the liar saying that heat stress was common under exercise 'in an hour' and thereby denying the heating of the planet.
runrig
4.2 / 5 (10) Jun 29, 2014

This probably needs to be updated, but I'm not sure. It's a 2011 article.
It rained at around 115 degrees in one of the desert mid-east nations last year. That doesn't necessarily mean the dew point was that high, but it was probably higher than 95.
About the same time, there was a similar rain event in the U.S.
This used to be thought to be very rare, but now we have professional and amateur weather stations EVERYWHERE......

No the dp was not above 95 - it simply is not possible meteorologically unless VERY special topographical circumstances apply -namely having a hot and extensive sea nearby evaporating wv copiously and being kept from rising by a low level inversion. The case you mention must have been large rain drop from Cb like cloud and in no way would it have raised the dp to that level. There is physics at work here. Also a dry wb thermo is very common.
And yes it may need updating .... Because of AGW!
antigoracle
1 / 5 (7) Jul 03, 2014
The only people who think like you do are mentally retarded.
--supamark23
Oh, I'm so sorry your parents dropped you as a baby and you landed in that institution.
But then, when you are as ugly as you're stupid, who can blame them.
Well, at least you're an "expert" in mental retardation and so special.
strangedays
4.5 / 5 (8) Jul 03, 2014
Oh look - the five year olds are up and having a spat.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (4) Jul 04, 2014
So sowwy mummy.
Caliban
5 / 5 (2) Jul 04, 2014
So sowwy mummy.


babytalk.

auntiegriselda's true medium; first and only language.

It's ok, auntiegriselda --Nursie will be along soon to change yer diaper.