Wednesday, 13 February 2008

A drop in the world's oceans

Greenland is melting -- "melting faster than ever, according to researchers." 

Frightening?  Depends how fast.  Depends how much.  According to Konrad Steffen of the University of Colorado at Boulder, melting this year was ten percent higher than in 2005, the previous record year.   According to Steffen: 'The amount of ice lost by Greenland over the last year is the equivalent of two times all the ice in the Alps." Twice the ice in the Alps! Crikey.  Surely that's "alarming."

Actually, not. Explains Rob Lyons at Sp!ked Online [hat tip HW], "in truth, this amount of water isn't much more than a drop in the ocean." 

Spread that melted ice over the whole watery surface of the Earth [which is 361million km2] and it amounts to about 0.5mm per year, or one-fiftieth of an inch.

At the current "record" rate of melting, to raise sea levels to the alarming level predicted by Al Gore, this would take about 12,800 years.

A more sober estimate of the effect of global melting is given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Working Group
I report earlier this year. 'Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003: about 3.1 mm per year.'  The IPCC estimates that total sea level rise over the twenty-first century will be between 18cm and 59cm - and the highest figure is based on a degree of warming (6.4 degrees) that is rather unlikely.

As Lyons says, if the world every does get that warm, and there's really no evidence that it will, then we will have much bigger problems than rising seas. So in the meantime, can we now have our beachfront properties back from the planners who are pinching them in the name of alarmist rubbish?

1 comment:

  1. To be fair, much of the 'argument' about greenland melting is not about the rise in sea level - its the belief that it will reduce the amount of solar energy reflected back into space.

    Not that this was a concern when greenland was, well, green.


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