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melting of the ice « Previous | |Next »
December 28, 2008

2008 was warmer and drier than usual. Water storages are lower than ever in southern Australia. In South Australia the premier is saying that the state won't run out of water. He says little was about helping to install bulk-buy solar roof panels, or that the federal Government is sending a message that it's not prepared to make that leap into the future of renewable energy in a big way.

Little is also being said what rising sea levels in the future would mean in coastal South Australia. There is a vacuum around the significance of the loss of Arctic summer sea ice, or the possibility of the Arctic sea becoming ice-free in summer and Greenland's ice melting.

sealevels.jpg Matt Golding

In Climate Code Red David Spratt and Philip Sutton warn that glaciologists are convinced the summer Arctic ice will disappear within five years, returning only as a thin layer during winter.

They argue that the question is not whether this can be stopped, but whether it can be reversed over coming decades to avoid sea level rises much worse than predicted by the comparatively conservative Nobel-Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — probably between two and five metres.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:23 AM | | Comments (17)
Comments

Comments

Melissa Fyfe in The Age says that the Rudd Government blinked.

You could hear the anger at his carbon plan crackling over the airwaves. With its low targets, Australia had decided not to lead the way in the hope China and India may follow. The scheme gave cash instead of energy efficiency help for households, huge compensation to polluters and a get-out clause for Australia to buy overseas permits instead of making its own hard cuts.

They've been captured by the polluters. They are not really helping people make the changes on the ground.

Nan
David Spratt says that:

the obstacles to implementing climate solutions are political and social in character, not technological or economic.

He also says that few talk about sea-ice loss and its trigger for large sea-level rises and for the permafrost time bomb. What we have with Rudd is the politics of failure-inducing compromise rather than leadership in building a post-carbon economy.

I read a few months back (50% chance it was New Scientist) that even if the Greenland and Arctic ice all melted, the change in sea levels would not really get out of the Atlantics and into Indian/Pacific oceans for a couple of decades, because of the way currents (assuming they don't change) work.

The fact that the water would be "held up" in the North Atlantic, affecting the US, Canada and Western Europe first, is actually cause for some hope that those industrialized nations might press harder for improvements to international governance of greenhouse emissions.

Wouldn't it be great if we could force all climate-change deniers and mitigation stallers to buy homes and make property investments a metre or less above current king tide levels.

Dave,
I wondered if that was the case. Australia is an awful long way from the Arctic and Greenland. Our coastline would be more immediately affected by the melting of Antarctica.

Global warming is caused by countries in the Northern Hemisphere emitting more carbon into the atmosphere than can be absorbed by “carbon sinks” such as vegetation and algae in water. The increase of atmospheric carbon occurs mainly during winter in the Northern Hemisphere. There is little or no scientific evidence that countries such as Australia and Australia actually contributing to the increase of atmospheric carbon, In Australia for example, we have hardly any frozen vegetation during our winters Most of the waters in and around Australia remain relatively warm and algae remains active as a massive carbon sink. It is possible that Australia’s may not actually contribute to global warming at all. The sale of coal and our gas into the Northern Hemisphere is another story. I feel that were are too narrow-minded and accept data relevant to other countries instead of doing calculation of our own carbon emission and whilst taking into consideration all our active carbon sinks.

>>the change in sea levels would not really get out of the Atlantics and into Indian/Pacific oceans for a couple of decades, because of the way currents (assuming they don't change) work.

Surely the currents would change with all that redistribution of water column temperature going on?

Considering the majority of the Australian population clusters around the coast we'd be crazy to rely so heavily on northern hemisphere research, as Beat says. Even if it does come up with nothing.

It seems from existing NASA measurements that variation in sea surface height is largely related to sea temperature and current maximum variation is around half a metre, http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=151

Melting sea ice does not materially affect sea level as the volume of floating ice below the surface is the same as the volume of water that is produced when in melts (remember, ice shrinks when it melts).

However what does happen as sea ice melts, and this is strongly evident in the arctic, is that, because ice reflects far more of the sun's radiation than water does,

It's about 14,000 kilopetres from the southern tip of Greenland to the southern tip of South America. The Gulf Stream, which is the fastest major ocean current, flows at up to 2 metres/second. Assuming that rising level from melting Greenland icecap propagated at the same rate (although it might be slower or faster, depending on how rapidly the cap is melting), it would take about 7 million seconds for the first ripple to reach the edge of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. This is a little under 3 months.

Posted by: Dave Bath | December 28, 2008 4:04 PM
Wouldn't it be great if we could force all climate-change deniers and mitigation stallers to buy homes and make property investments a metre or less above current king tide levels.

Nice idea Dave. Now if you could just get the market to recognise your panic and reflect it in the property prices, then get the owners to buy into your hysteria and want to sell, I'd be delighted to snap up a couple of beach front properties.
I guess I am not buying houses from them because they aren't buying panic from you.


Posted by Dave Bath:Wouldn't it be great if we could force all climate-change deniers and mitigation stallers to buy homes and make property investments a metre or less above current king tide levels.

Wouldn't it be great if, before you do the above, all the climate-change believers and mitigation rushers would change their own lifestyles as if they really believed in climate change instead of behaving like they belong to some hypocritical fundamentalist religion? Why can't St. Al Gore, the inventor of the Internet and prophet of global warming, figure out a way to use teleconferencing instead of jetting all over the world? Why didn't the people who attended the Bali conference last year at least jet-pool instead of flying so many private jets there that the airports filled up?

Let's sell the ABC and use the proceeds (and what would have been its budget) to fund nuclear power plants and or/renewable energy. Lets also get rid of unnecessary luxuries such as humanities departments in the Universities and do the same with the savings.

Wouldn't it be great if we could force all climate-change deniers and mitigation stallers to buy homes and make property investments a metre or less above current king tide levels.

That sure would be great, Dave. The only thing better than that would be if we could forbid Global Warming Zealots from living anywhere near the ocean.

That would free up staggering amounts of prime beachfront property currently owned by Global Warming Zealots, which could then be forced upon Dirty, Baby-Raping Deniers like me. I'd accept.

Aaron,
selling the ABC to fund the infant renewable energy industry. is a bit drastic. Why not reduce the subsidy to the coal-fired power stations.

its not a question of money---Rudd and Swan are spending like there is no tomorrow. So they could easily fund renewables in the name of creating jobs and stimulating the economy. It's more politics--the power of the old forms of energy to protect their interests.

Warwick,
there is nothing to stop you buying property on the low lying areas of the Australia coastline in the hope of making a fast buck. You may find insurance a tad expensive, but hey that shouldn't stop a gungho entrepreneurial spirit such as yourself. Why wait for panic to depress prices? The global financial crisis has already done that.

JIm C,
How does you thesis about addressing climate change as hypocritical fundamentalist religion account (non reason) for governments acting to address through emission trading schemes and using economics to justify this policy response.

Are you implying that these western governments acting irrationally because they are run by politicians and bureaucrats in the grip of a fundamentalist religion?

Darrell,
the market allows you to buy coastal properties on the cheap without having the state forbid Global Warming Zealots from living anywhere near the ocean.

the latter accept using the market as an instrument to drive change. Isn't that what an emissions trading scheme is?

Aaron,
I appreciate that Leslie Kemeny is a great publicist for nuclear power and constantly argues that nuclear power has key role in fight against climate change.

Though he accurately recognizes that the Australian Government, acts almost like the mouth-piece of the fossil-fuel industry, But these publicists rarely mention the economic subsidies required to get the nuclear industry off the ground as a viable industry.

Jim C + Darrell
Even the International Energy Agency has stopped being in denial about the problems of climate change and peak oil, or talking about world energy use doubling and an increasing use of coal.They are now s,a href="http://www.iea.org/Textbase/press/pressdetail.asp?PRESS_REL_ID=278">saying that:

The global economic slowdown must be viewed as an opportunity, not a distraction from efforts to mitigate climate change. Countries planning fiscal stimulus packages should invest in energy efficiency and clean technologies to build sustainable energy infrastructure.

Their current position is a sort of ‘Clean Energy New Deal’ that not only generates economic growth and makes sense from an environmental standpoint, but also enhances energy security