EPA Finally Acts on CO2, Two Degrees in the Bag Conservatively, Greenland Melts, Sea Level Rise 8 Feet Per Century

By March 24, 2009 February 28th, 2013 Impacts

Two degrees are in the bag. Now the EPA acts… We don’t get those two degrees back back even if we stopped emitting all greenhouse gases today. We should have acted when Kyoto said. The scientist new what they were up too, even though it seems that everything they do these days is conservative.

Three degrees of warming will melt Greenland, the old school says. They say it will take 1,000 years result in two feet of sea level rise per century. (This is approximately the beach and coastal wetland regeneration threshold). If Greenland crosses its melt threshold, we lose our beaches even if there were no other source of sea level rise.

How can Greenland melt?  It’s an 11,000 foot thick piece of ice…  All it has to do is get warm enough, and the scientists think that appropriate warming is 3 degrees. However, these are the guys who thought that it would be the end of the century before the Arctic sea ice melted or Antarctica even started melting, or the inhabitants of the Earth started emitting greenhouse gases at the rate they are emitting them today. The scientists thought these three things would not happen for 60 or 70 or a hundred years Virtually every single one of them thought this until just a few years ago, certainly since the turn of the century.

Now here’s the crazy part.  When one melts an ice cube, one has to put 8 times the heat into that ice cube to melt it, to change its temperature from 32 to 33 degrees, as it would take to change the temperature of water from 33 to 34 degrees, or of ice from 30 to 31 degrees.  At all other temperatures (except the boiling point) a one to one ratio is needed for heat exchange except at the freezing and boiling points. The scientists call this the heat of fusion.  So what this means is that we have to put a boatload of extra energy into the ice to melt it. Once it starts melting, the process is irreversible and unstoppable.

There are two reasons why I say unstoppable and irreversible. 1) We could certainly stop the thawing process if we cooled the ice sheet of enough. Ah, but this is not going to happen. Just three degrees of heating will put the ice cap over its melt threshold. 2) The Greenland ice sheet should not be there right now, it is too warm. It is a relic of the last ice age. It is so big and cold that it creates its own weather and keeps itself cool. It is its own refrigerator. As we travel up into the sky, the temperature cools one degree every 200 or 300 feet vertically. Most of Greenland is in the frozen zone because it is so high. That frozen zone keeps the ice sheet from melting. If we had to start from scratch today, the ice sheet would not form because it would not be in the frozen zone all of the time like it is now (ore was just a few years ago).

Sea level rise from ocean expansion, mountain glacier melt and existing ice sheet melt and ice discharge was supposed to be 7 to 23 inches by the year 2100 according to the IPCC in November 2007.  The IPCC research is widely recognized to be conservative however and the research that they reference stopped about 2005. Since then, scientists have been on overtime trying to understand the true nature of the climate crisis.  What they have found is that indeed, the IPCC models are quite conservative. The ocean expansion, mountain glacier existing ice sheet melt contribution to sea level is now 48 inches, and this does not include dynamical ice sheet disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) or the East Antarctic Ice Sheet or Greenland either, but they are much less of a risk than the WAIS. This is the best case scenario. It is five times worse than the IPCC 2007 best case scenario and twice as bad as the 2007 worst case scenario.

So now we are up to six feet of sea level rise by the end of the century. New work from Antarctica – these boys and girls have outdone themselves this time – shows the cycles of disintegration of the WAIS. They drilled through 600 feet of the Ross Ice Shelf and 3,000 feet of the Ross Sea to core the sediments beneath the Ross Ice Shelf – a buttress of the WAIS. (The Ross Ice Shelf drifts 30 feet per day and they made 2,000 feet of core). The WAIS regularly disintegrated on 42,000 years cycles over the last 5 million years coinciding with Earth’s tilt – the solar cycles responsible for the ice ages. The Earth’s axis tilts 21 to 24 degrees every 21,000 years and back. This represents a tiny increase and decrease in heat energy from the sun (less than a degree – because more land is in the northern hemisphere. When the north is tilted towards the sun, the Earth is warmer). The Earth’ amplification feedback processes make up the other 9 degrees of temperature change between ice age cold and interglacial warmth. The warming oceans melt the WAIS from beneath, destabilizing the buttressing ice shelves and the Mexico sized piece of ice two miles thick slides off into the ocean over a 1,000 year period.  This is what the conservative scientists call a collapse. It equal about 20 feet of sea level rise in a millennium. Their resolution is poor however. Partial collapses that happen much faster are very likely. Earth processes do not generally tend to happen as slowly and consistently as a 1,000 year collapse would indicate.

So we get another 2 feet of sea level rise from West Antarctica per century. Now we are up to 8 feet per century.  All of this is coming from the conservative scientists who’s predictions of future climate are decades, generations and even centuries conservative almost across the board.

We a changing the rate of carbon emission on this planet 20,000 times faster than at any time in the last 65 million years. The WAIS is thinning rapidly from underneath because of warming ocean currents and the currents are changing rapidly bringing warmer waters beneath the buttressing portion of the WAIS. The currents are changing, not because of the warming effect of global warming – they are doing that too – but climate change is fundamentally changing the wind patterns across the world, and they are likely changing the most at the poles, like everything else.  The wind patterns are what drive the ocean currents. New wind patterns are bring water that is far warmer from a totally different place to parts of Antarctica, like the underside of the buttressing ice shelf of that 10,000 foot tall Mexico sized piece of ice called the WAIS. The ice rivers in the WAIS have increased their speeds by 60% and 100% too.

But 8 feet of sea level rise still doesn’t sound like much – barely a Cat 2 storm surge.  yet, this storm surge will into recede. The U.S. Geologic Survey says half the population of the planet is vulnerable to sea level rise. The United Nations says half a billion people will be displaced by sea level rise of just three feet. The IPCC says that three feet per century of rise is all that the Earth’s society can adapt to, beyond that and societal devastation will occur because of infrastructure destruction alone.

More from NOAA – climate change is officially worse than predicted, faster than predicted, and will continue to warm much much longer than predicted . Climate changes are virtually unstoppable and irreversible and will last 1,000 years and will continue to change, because of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere right now, for centuries, not decades as we once understood.

So now, finally, EPA is going to make CO2 a hazard to humans. And the big thing that so very few scientists have said beans about: There is no known stable climate state warmer than the one we are in right now.  CO2 emissions are changing – 20,000 times faster than at any time since the Dinosaurs went extinct at the end of the Cenozoic Era. Guess why the Dinosaurs went extinct?  Yes it was triggered by the great asteroid collision, but that wasn’t enough. That was like the Earth tilting 3 degrees. It started the feedbacks – the Earth amplifies these little changes naturally.  mankind is now providing the amplification about a gazillion times faster than Earth can provide.