1/24/2007

Where'd the Water Go?

Last night I saw dramatic images on the news about the shrinking arctic polar ice cap. I borrowed these photos from an MSNBC story here.

They are supposed to prove the dire predictions about global warming are true. I have never doubted global warming. I am just a skeptic about cause. But now I have to start doubting the effects of warming, too. I thought that when the polar ice melted, New York, LA, and every other coastal city was supposed to disappear under water.

3 comments:

Allan said...

I'm about the furthest thing from a global-warming apologist (like you, I have my doubts about cause and would like those to be addressed a little more completely before signing on to wholesale solutions), but I think the overall concern is not with the northern polar cap itself, because as you point out that won't affect water levels. But if it gets warm enough to melt that, it could be warm enough to melt the freshwater caps on Greenland and Antarctica, which could raise the water level. Whether that's as big a problem as is being presented is a whole other question...

WolfPack said...

I think what Allen is saying is that only land based ice can raise water levels. Same as ice in your rum and coke, the ice melts but the level doesn't go up. But if you add water from melted ice outside the glass you can spill it over. I believe the nothern cap is mostly floating ice.

free thought said...

I buy the "floating ice" argument if the ice is floating with its mass under the surface. Given the height of the coastal ice, exposure of islands, and exposure of northern parts of N.America and Asia, seems like we have lost more than that, and should have seen some effect, if the models/predictions are true.

I especially have a problem believing that all that floating ice melted, but not any of the land based ice. I realize Montana's glacier's won't change the water table much, but what about all the other land ice that has melted in the last 100 years or so?