Thursday, May 26, 2016

Totten Glacier Is Destabilised.

Why should you care?

Because it's in East Antarctica -- and the "warm" deeper waters from the Southern Ocean are melting into the glacier and its whole catchment area. Let me show you:

Here is a map of Antarctica with the Totten Glacier highlighted in pale blue:

Source: The Wasibngton Post, via Dennis Dimick on Twitter,
via dtlange at Robertscribbler.
Now let me show you how deep its catchment area is!

Source: ScienceDirect via Robertscribbler.
Note bedding under the catchment area is up to about a mile below sea level! So before the glacier were to visibly melt, it could become severely undermined by the warm waters already eating away at its base. Which means, if we're especially unlucky (or God is or The Gods are especially angry at us or playing tricks with us) this thing could get completely undermined before detatching from its above-sea-level neighbours. And if it does, when it does a huge chunk of ice the size of California and 1-1/2 miles high (at least) will go sailing off to the North or falling into its basin -- and nine-tenths of that height will be underwater!

From Robertscribber:

Towering Totten and the Coming MultiMeter Sea-Level Rise

A new scientific study has found that the Totten Glacier is fundamentally unstable and could significantly contribute to a possible multi-meter sea level rise this Century under mid-range and worst case warming scenarios.
408 Parts per million CO2. 490 parts per million CO2e. This is the amount of heat-trapping CO2 and total CO2 equivalent for all heat-trapping gasses now in the Earth’s atmosphere. Two measures representing numerous grave potential consequences.
We’re Locking in 120-190 Feet of Sea Level Rise Long Term
Looking at the first number — 408 parts per million CO2 — we find that the last time global levels of this potent heat-trapping gas were so high was during the Middle Miocene Climate Optimum of 15-17 million years ago. During this time, the Greenland Ice Sheet did not exist. East Antarctic glacial ice was similarly scarce. And the towering glaciers of West Antarctica were greatly reduced. Overall, global sea levels were 120 to 190 feet higher than they are today. Meanwhile, atmospheric temperatures were between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius hotter than those experienced during the late 19th Century
Large sections of Antarctica rest below sea level. A physical feature that renders substantial portions of Antarctica’s glaciers very vulnerable to rising ocean temperatures. Since the latent heat content of water is substantially higher than that of air, even comparatively small ocean temperature increases can cause significant melt in sea-facing glaciers and in below sea level glacial basins.
For more, click here.

Now if the Totten Glaicier were all to melt, it would contribute about 3.5 meters of additional sea level -- over 11 feet, according to The Washington Post. Now this huge chunk of ice isn't going to all melt and leave the rest of Antarctica frozen. Instead, as it melts, Greenland, West Antarctica and other areas in East Antarctica will also melt, as they are doing now. So we could get, say, 1 meter from Totten, 1 from Greenland, 1 from West Antarctica and 1 or 2 from other parts of East Antarctica by 2100. Guess what! That's 13 to 16 feet of sea level rise! South Florida will be inundated. Chesapeake Bay, enlarged to the point of Ridiculousness. The Central Valley in California, flooded (maybe). The Missisissippi Delta in Louisiana, destroyed. Courtesy of the Fossil Fuels Derivatives Beast.

Possibly, the only thing that can stop this is Yellowstone blowing up.

Tips o' th' hat to dtlange and Robertscribbler.

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