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Climate permafrost and ice melting  the danger of melting ice walls | Newsletter General

Permafrost And Ice Melting: The Danger Of Melting Ice walls

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by: SH
permafrost and ice melting  the danger of melting ice walls | Newsletter

Rise in sea levels: the inherent danger of ice walls breaking. Another article discussing the dangers of our rising sea levels is probably the last thing on your to-read list. After all, the literature on the dangers of each additional millimetre that our oceans and seas rise is abundant. Rising sea levels will irreparably damage coastal ecosystems, alter climate for good and wipe out entire communities that are unlucky enough to find themselves in the deltas that are subject to excessive flooding.

Permafrost And Ice Melting: A Danger To Coastal Communities

Recent studies have shown that the number of people impacted will be a least thrice the earlier estimates. Provided that no one moves away, there would be some 150 million people living under the water line by 2050 (during high tide). On top of that, 300 million people will live in areas that will see floods on a yearly basis. And this is still under the low-emissions scenario, where we will have taken successful action before then.

House, Ice, water
Photo by: Marjorie Teo, Greenland

In a high-emissions scenario, these numbers will be even more dramatic - with 540 million people living under the water line and another 640 million people living in regions subject to flooding. This puts well over 1 billion of us at risk within the next few decades - pretty alarming in and of itself.


                                          A mysterious 'hole' has reappeared in the middle of Antarctica

Antartica Is Melting: Land Ice And Permafrost On The Decline

Recommended: Climate Change: Antarctica Is Melting Says NASA

Back in 2012, researchers provided a much needed wake-up call in Nature Geoscience magazine. They found that between 1958 and 2010, the average temperature at Antartica’s Byrd Station increased by just shy of 2.5 degrees Celsius. This makes this spot, located in the heart of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, one of the fastest-warming places on the planet.

What is permafrost and why is it important?
Permafrost is permanently frozen soil, and occurs mostly in high latitudes. In addition, permafrost is structurally important, and its melting has been known to cause erosion, disappearance of lakes, landslides, and ground subsidence. It will also cause changes in plant species composition at high latitudes.

Ice bear, ice
Photo by Anna Spratt

That is shocking. One of the places where you would definitely not want temperatures to increase too much. Just like we do not like accidentally leaving our fridge open on a hot summer day, we should be careful to leave nature’s fridge open for too long - as it might not just be milk going bad, but rather entire ecosystems.

What happens if permafrost melts?
It is thought that permafrost thawing could exacerbate global warming by releasing methane and other hydrocarbons, which are powerful greenhouse gases. It also could encourage erosion because permafrost lends stability to barren Arctic slopes.

Ice Sheets Melting At An Alarming Rate

The Antarctic is particularly important because of its ice sheets covering most of the land. These are key to our ocean’s currents and determinant of much of the earth’s climate. If there’s one thing not going well together, it has to be ice and heat. As such, researchers found that Antarctica lost some 3000 gigaton of ice in the last three decades alone, the melting of which will cause sea levels to rise by about 7.6 millimetres.

Recommended: Antarctic: Our Growing Footprint On This Pristine Continent

Ice, boat penguins
Photo by: James Eades

The rate at which this is happening is very alarming: back in 1992, we “only” lost some 43 gigaton per year, a number that has gone up to 220 gigaton per year over the last five years. This means that the amount of ice that is melting is increasing at a similar pace. This could lead to a equally alarming rise in sea levels, setting in motion all the bad effects as outlined earlier in this article.

What is Antarctica known for?
Often described as a continent of superlatives, Antarctica is the world's southernmost continent. It is also the world's highest, driest, windiest, coldest, and iciest continent.

Antartica Melting From The Inside Out

There is, however, another possibility - albeit strictly theoretical at this point. And its consequences could possibility be even worse. Let’s entertain the thought of Antartica melting from the inside out for a second.

What if all the ice sheets on the continent are slowly but surely melting, but still being ‘held back’ by a barrier of ice surrounding it? The ice will basically start acting like a barrage for the melted ice behind it. Just like we artificially constructed sand dunes to hold back the sea, mimicking the already existing natural phenomenon, ice walls could do the same for the melting permafrost and ice caps - keeping the melted water ‘inside’, so to speak.

Recommended: Manmade Antarctic Snowstorm: Save Cities From Rising Seas

hole, ice, man
Photo by: This gigantic hole was recently been discovered by an Arctic expedition

Antartica As Lava Cake: 'Biblical' Flood Threat

One huge caveat? All this pent up water will have to go somewhere, eventually. And science taught us that the increasingly warmer water surrounding the ice wall will cause said wall to melt as well. What this means? Well, basically what happens when a dam bursts. Only then the dam is about the size of Antartica’s perimeter, holding the world’s largest ice reservoir. Even more worryingly, large parts of Antartica do not lie on actual land but float on water.

What would happen if the Antarctica melted?
If all the ice covering Antarctica , Greenland, and in mountain glaciers around the world were to melt, sea level would rise about 70 meters (230 feet). The ocean would cover all the coastal cities. And land area would shrink significantly. But many cities, such as Denver, would survive

Green water, ice
Photo by: Mikael Strandberg

So if Antartica is melting from the inside out, we could be about to witness the real-life equivalent of a lava cake when prodded from the outside. And instead of the melting ice caps gradually raising sea levels, allowing for us to adjust to the best of our possibilities, we could be facing a potentially life-threatening tsunami of biblical proportions.

Antartica Melting: Is The Threat Real?

The idea is equally fascinating as it is frightening. A gigantic wave could be building up, fed by the thousands and thousands of square kilometres of ice melting. This theory only leads to more questions. Although Antartica is definitely a key player in anything related to climate change, it remains to be seen to what extent - and how - sea levels will be affected by this icy continent.

Is Antarctica only ice?
Almost all of Antarctica is covered with ice; less than half a percent of the vast wilderness is ice-free. The continent is divided into two regions, known as East and West Antarctica. East Antarctica makes up two-thirds of the continent, and is about the size of Australia.

For one, there is still much debate as to the actual impact that rising temperatures will have on the sea level. On top of that, we have found ourselves on the breaking point - will we or will we not - when it comes to taking real action on global warming. If we manage to cut back our emissions significantly in decades to come, the effect of melting ice will be very different from what it would be if we stay ignorant and celebrate the status quo.

Areal snow, ice
Photo by: USGS

From a purely logical standpoint, the threat might not seem as excessive as described. After all, there is much debate whether such an ice wall could even exist for any length of time, or whether it is more likely that large chunks of ice are breaking off and floating the oceans freely, melting gradually. The latter seems to be happening today, with no indications that the heart of Antartica is melting while her outer parts are holding strong.

Regardless, as with so many things related to climate change, it is a - currently hypothetical - threat that should always be kept in the back of our minds. After all, if our goal is to survive and adapt to changing conditions, the first thing that we ought to do is not to make sure that we keep our feet dry - but rather to ensure that we are not swept away in the surf.

Before you go!

Recommended: Delay Climate Change With Submarines Which Produce Icebergs

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David Fisher - 22 WEEKS AGO
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Your Comment is Under Moderation
The threat of rising sea levels is not new. It goes back at least 20 years. So far none of the predictions have come true. I am not aware of any coastal peoples suffering from a rise in sea levels. We were told that some of the Arctic glaciers would have disappeared by now but they are still there. It all appears to be based on predictions which so far have not been realised.
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Breaking News, as the world changes…

In our world, WhatsOrb refuses to turn away from the changes in our society and environment which succeeds each other at a rapid pace.

For WhatsOrb, publishing on the environment is a priority. We give reporting on climate, nature, waste, lifestyle and sustainable solutions the prominence it deserves.

At this turbulent time for ‘all’ species and our planet, we are determined to inform readers about threats, consequences and solutions based on facts, not on political prejudice or business interests.

WhatsOrb Breaking News will be published as soon as urgent events from around the world and startling sustainable innovations reach us.

If there is anything we should know and publish about, please send a note to: [email protected] or write your own story on: www.whatsorb.comthe only news site which gives you a ‘sustainable voice!’

Permafrost And Ice Melting: The Danger Of Melting Ice walls

Rise in sea levels: the inherent danger of ice walls breaking. Another article discussing the dangers of our rising sea levels is probably the last thing on your to-read list. After all, the literature on the dangers of each additional millimetre that our oceans and seas rise is abundant. Rising sea levels will irreparably damage coastal ecosystems, alter climate for good and wipe out entire communities that are unlucky enough to find themselves in the deltas that are subject to excessive flooding. Permafrost And Ice Melting: A Danger To Coastal Communities Recent studies have shown that the number of people impacted will be a least thrice the earlier estimates. Provided that no one moves away, there would be some 150 million people living under the water line by 2050 (during high tide). On top of that, 300 million people will live in areas that will see floods on a yearly basis. And this is still under the low-emissions scenario, where we will have taken successful action before then. Photo by: Marjorie Teo, Greenland In a high-emissions scenario, these numbers will be even more dramatic - with 540 million people living under the water line and another 640 million people living in regions subject to flooding. This puts well over 1 billion of us at risk within the next few decades - pretty alarming in and of itself. {youtube}                                           A mysterious 'hole' has reappeared in the middle of Antarctica Antartica Is Melting: Land Ice And Permafrost On The Decline Recommended:  Climate Change: Antarctica Is Melting Says NASA Back in 2012, researchers provided a much needed wake-up call in Nature Geoscience magazine. They found that between 1958 and 2010, the average temperature at Antartica’s Byrd Station increased by just shy of 2.5 degrees Celsius. This makes this spot, located in the heart of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, one of the fastest-warming places on the planet. What is permafrost and why is it important? Permafrost is permanently frozen soil, and occurs mostly in high latitudes. In addition, permafrost is structurally important, and its melting has been known to cause erosion, disappearance of lakes, landslides, and ground subsidence. It will also cause changes in plant species composition at high latitudes. Photo by Anna Spratt That is shocking. One of the places where you would definitely not want temperatures to increase too much. Just like we do not like accidentally leaving our fridge open on a hot summer day, we should be careful to leave nature’s fridge open for too long - as it might not just be milk going bad, but rather entire ecosystems. What happens if permafrost melts? It is thought that permafrost thawing could exacerbate global warming by releasing methane and other hydrocarbons, which are powerful greenhouse gases. It also could encourage erosion because permafrost lends stability to barren Arctic slopes. Ice Sheets Melting At An Alarming Rate The Antarctic is particularly important because of its ice sheets covering most of the land. These are key to our ocean’s currents and determinant of much of the earth’s climate. If there’s one thing not going well together, it has to be ice and heat. As such, researchers found that Antarctica lost some 3000 gigaton of ice in the last three decades alone, the melting of which will cause sea levels to rise by about 7.6 millimetres. Recommended:  Antarctic: Our Growing Footprint On This Pristine Continent Photo by: James Eades The rate at which this is happening is very alarming: back in 1992, we “only” lost some 43 gigaton per year, a number that has gone up to 220 gigaton per year over the last five years. This means that the amount of ice that is melting is increasing at a similar pace. This could lead to a equally alarming rise in sea levels, setting in motion all the bad effects as outlined earlier in this article. What is Antarctica known for? Often described as a continent of superlatives, Antarctica is the world's southernmost continent. It is also the world's highest, driest, windiest, coldest, and iciest continent. Antartica Melting From The Inside Out There is, however, another possibility - albeit strictly theoretical at this point. And its consequences could possibility be even worse. Let’s entertain the thought of Antartica melting from the inside out for a second. What if all the ice sheets on the continent are slowly but surely melting, but still being ‘held back’ by a barrier of ice surrounding it? The ice will basically start acting like a barrage for the melted ice behind it. Just like we artificially constructed sand dunes to hold back the sea, mimicking the already existing natural phenomenon, ice walls could do the same for the melting permafrost and ice caps - keeping the melted water ‘inside’, so to speak. Recommended:  Manmade Antarctic Snowstorm: Save Cities From Rising Seas Photo by: This gigantic hole was recently been discovered by an Arctic expedition Antartica As Lava Cake: 'Biblical' Flood Threat One huge caveat? All this pent up water will have to go somewhere, eventually. And science taught us that the increasingly warmer water surrounding the ice wall will cause said wall to melt as well. What this means? Well, basically what happens when a dam bursts. Only then the dam is about the size of Antartica’s perimeter, holding the world’s largest ice reservoir. Even more worryingly, large parts of Antartica do not lie on actual land but float on water. What would happen if the Antarctica melted? If all the ice covering Antarctica , Greenland, and in mountain glaciers around the world were to melt, sea level would rise about 70 meters (230 feet). The ocean would cover all the coastal cities. And land area would shrink significantly. But many cities, such as Denver, would survive Photo by: Mikael Strandberg So if Antartica is melting from the inside out, we could be about to witness the real-life equivalent of a lava cake when prodded from the outside. And instead of the melting ice caps gradually raising sea levels, allowing for us to adjust to the best of our possibilities, we could be facing a potentially life-threatening tsunami of biblical proportions. Antartica Melting: Is The Threat Real? The idea is equally fascinating as it is frightening. A gigantic wave could be building up, fed by the thousands and thousands of square kilometres of ice melting. This theory only leads to more questions. Although Antartica is definitely a key player in anything related to climate change, it remains to be seen to what extent - and how - sea levels will be affected by this icy continent. Is Antarctica only ice? Almost all of Antarctica is covered with ice; less than half a percent of the vast wilderness is ice-free. The continent is divided into two regions, known as East and West Antarctica. East Antarctica makes up two-thirds of the continent, and is about the size of Australia. For one, there is still much debate as to the actual impact that rising temperatures will have on the sea level. On top of that, we have found ourselves on the breaking point - will we or will we not - when it comes to taking real action on global warming. If we manage to cut back our emissions significantly in decades to come, the effect of melting ice will be very different from what it would be if we stay ignorant and celebrate the status quo. Photo by: USGS From a purely logical standpoint, the threat might not seem as excessive as described. After all, there is much debate whether such an ice wall could even exist for any length of time, or whether it is more likely that large chunks of ice are breaking off and floating the oceans freely, melting gradually. The latter seems to be happening today, with no indications that the heart of Antartica is melting while her outer parts are holding strong. Regardless, as with so many things related to climate change, it is a - currently hypothetical - threat that should always be kept in the back of our minds. After all, if our goal is to survive and adapt to changing conditions, the first thing that we ought to do is not to make sure that we keep our feet dry - but rather to ensure that we are not swept away in the surf. Before you go! Recommended:  Delay Climate Change With Submarines Which Produce Icebergs Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about the climate? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
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