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      CommentAuthorSpiraltwist
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2008 edited
     (1567.1)



    A huge shelf of Antarctic ice has collapsed, satellite imagery has just revealed, and the Connecticut-sized shelf behind it is "hanging by a thread," scientists say.

    Satellite images show the sudden disintegration of a 160-square-mile chunk in western Antarctica, according to a press release from the University of Colorado at Boulder and an AP report of the ice shelf breakup. It is part of the Wilkins Ice Shelf, which covered 5,000 square miles until it started breaking up in the 1990s. The only thing now connecting the Wilkins Ice Shelf to the Antarctic mainland is a thin "buttress" of ice.

    "If there is a little bit more retreat, this last 'ice buttress' could collapse and we'd likely lose about half the total ice shelf area in the next few years," CU-Boulder's Ted Scambos said in a statement.

    Melting ice shelves do not raise the worldwide sea level, because this ice is already floating on the ocean. However, the Antarctic ice shelves are the leading edges of land-based glaciers behind them. If the glaciers behind them start moving into the sea more quickly, that will have an impact on sea levels.



    From Wired.

    Silver lining here, maybe.
  1.  (1567.2)
    I suspect Mad Science. Or Arch-Villainy.
  2.  (1567.3)
    Relax. They're having a party on Mount Olympus, someone's just getting the ice buckets ready.
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      CommentAuthorkristinag
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2008
     (1567.4)
    beach front property here I come.
  3.  (1567.5)
    I suspect Mad Science

    Good Answer.
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      CommentAuthorEgon
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2008
     (1567.6)
    Sadly, Fallout Boy wasn't able to get there in time to be stranded with the starving Polar Bears
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2008
     (1567.7)
    But Al Gore is fat - doesn't that decisively disprove claims of climate change?
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2008
     (1567.8)
    Melting ice shelves do not raise the worldwide sea level, because this ice is already floating on the ocean.

    There's a part of my brain screaming at me that somethings wrong with that statement, but I can't for the life of me figure out what.
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      CommentAuthorRembrand
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2008
     (1567.9)
    Makes sense to me: just like with an icecube floating in a glass of Coke, the ice already adds to the total volume of liquid/ice in the glass. Melted or solid, it's not going to overflow your glass. On the other hand, if you add more ice to it, you increase the volume and cause an overflowing.
    Jeah, I saw "An inconvenient thruth" yesterday.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2008 edited
     (1567.10)
    Yeah, it does make sense. But the long lost lamented part of my head that somehow got an A in A-level Physics 13 years ago seems to be insisting that it's not that simple. I've attacked it with alcohol to make it shush.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2008
     (1567.11)
    Flabyo, it's a vast simplification of a whole range of factors.

    For starters, water molecules in the form of ice actually store slightly more energy than they do as liquid water. When ice melts, this energy is released (wish I could remember the proper term for this).

    This warms the surrounding liquid water slightly which causes it expand. So yes when the ice melts it will produce a tiny little bump in the overall water level.

    But then there are all the other effects - like the fact that ice has a higher albedo than open water meaning that as the ice melts more solar radiation is absorbed.
  4.  (1567.12)
    Look at how straight the cut is. Obviously done by a giant laser on the moon.
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      CommentAuthorEithin
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2008
     (1567.13)
    Kosmopilit - latent heat.

    And don't forget the fun of adding just-melted icewater into the warmer ocean water which is causing it to melt, and thereby fucking with the currents and biological climate of said ocean water.

    Rising sea levels, whilst of some interest to desperately poor low-lying areas like Bangladesh, Frinton, and East London, are not in themselves world-destroyingly dangerous. That's reserved for the collateral and knock-on effects.
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      CommentAuthorMegaGoosey
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2008
     (1567.14)
    But guys, global warming is a liberal created myth!!!

    I'm going with the giant laser on the moon theory here.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2008
     (1567.15)
    Oh, the liberal media will tell you it was a giant moon laser, but that's just junk science.

    Folks, the laser came from down below.
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      CommentAuthorEithin
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2008
     (1567.16)
    The reason the iceberg has been broken off is so that the mole men can use it as a floating airfield, of course. Expect waves of ornithopters with heavily goggled pilots any day soon. They'll be coming from the north-west.
  5.  (1567.17)
  6.  (1567.18)
    @KitsuneCaligari

    - Thanks for the links.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeMar 29th 2008
     (1567.19)
    Eithin that's absurd. It's the antarctic so they'll be coming from the south.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeMar 29th 2008
     (1567.20)
    I hear mole women are incredibly hot. If you can get past the squinty eyes and creepy star shaped noses.