Sorry, There\’s an Error Here

Ban Ki Moon, the UN General Secretary says:

“I was told by scientists that the entire Western Antarctica is now floating. That is a fifth of the continent. If it broke up, sea levels may rise as much as six metres,” Mr Ban said after being briefed at the Chilean, Uruguayan and South Korean bases during a day trip to King George Island, at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.

If it\’s already floating then it won\’t raise sea levels then, will it?

10 thoughts on “Sorry, There\’s an Error Here”

  1. It’s worth reading the comment by antoni underneath it.

    “It is not really “floating ice”. These ice masses are actually “ice shelves” (100-1000 metres thick ) grounded on the continent, “hanging” like a cantilever, and mostly emerging from the ocean (unlike sea ice, which is eight ninths submerged). Thus, melting of antarctic ice shelves would add huge volumes of water to the oceans.”

    I don’t know the truth of this, but it seemed to be worth considering.


  2. Shouldn’t the UN General Secretary actually take advice from the IPCC, which is an UN body, rather than scientists from the fringes of climate science?

  3. DK,

    That is the truth, the Ross Ice Shelf et al are resting on the sea floor, so displacing much less than their own weight of water. If they were to melt it would be catastrophic, 20M+ sea level rise.

    But –

    This will happen about the time porkers fly.

    Well, if Greenland were to melt the rising sea level would put strain on the Ross Shelf, causing bits to break off, melt, and put further stress on the remains – a positive feedback loop causing further breakup. But this will still be in the time of flying pigs.

  4. If the ice is resting on the sea floor (held down by some sort of anti-gravity rays, presumably) then it is actually displacing LESS than its own weight in water.

    When it melts, sea levels will do DOWN.

    As background, if you freeze a cubic metre of water you end up with 1.09 cubic metres of ice.

    So there.

  5. Mark,

    The Ross and the Ronne Ice Shelves are combined roughly two thirds of a million cubic kilometres of ice, sitting on the sea floor and towering much more than 9% of their volume above the ocean surface, held in place by that mysterious force called gravity.

    There is no chance that global warming, however caused, can make Antarctica melt, but if sea levels rose much the at all the ice shelves could start breaking up from the added stress, the calved bergs would drift north, melt, and thereby add to the stress on the remaining shelf. Leading to runaway catastrophic reduction in their size.

  6. No I don’t get this.

    Data here:

    Earth surface area is 510 Million sq km.
    Wiki has 70% water. I’m using 2/3 for oceans. Call it 340 Million sq km.

    2/3 million cubic km ice divided by 340 Million sq km = ~0.002 km.

    That’s two metres. Not 20. And only if we have a complete collapse and melt of the entire West Antartic ice sheet.

    Tim adds: The main driver of sea level rises isn’t in fact ice anyway. It’s thermal expansion of the water itself.

  7. Quite: and adding Icebergs to it is not going to warm it up very much, especially given the enormous amount of energy required to turn ice @ 0 degrees to water @ 0 degrees…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *