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True consequenes of global warming and sea level rise

12/17/09

After attending a few lectures on climate change, five of us went to have a Myanmar dinner on Thursday night, one day before my computer science final.  The  family we went to visit is not far from our ship in Osterport, and we t9ok about 20 minutes to find the place.  Our hosts were a very kind couple in Denmark.  They work in a climate change program and help to organize a lot of international climate change events.

Our hosts also invited a few students from different countries.  I enjoyed talking with one of the student from Australia who is involved in climate change programs as well.  After discussing global warming issues in different countries, we started to discuss the consequences of climate change and some facts about sea level rising.

The Australian youth has a better understanding about climate change, particularly the consequences of the sea level rising, than I did.  I used to believe that sea level rising is mainly caused by the ice melting in the North Pole and the South Pole, which will not significantly increase the global sea level based upon physic theories about melting.  Instead of increasing the global sea level, the sea level will be dropped by certain level if we strictly apply the physic theories of melting.  For instance, say there is a cup of the water with some ice.  The water level will eventually drop by a certain level after the melting of the ice.  The same theory applies to the global sea level rising; it is hard to imagine how the sea level will physically rise to a certain level every year.

The youth from Australia gave me a better illustration about this.  In his words, this theory is correct and should be taken into account when we talk about global sea level rising.  However, instead of talking about the melting of the North Pole and South Pole, the Australian youth introduced that the major threat is the melting of Greenland.  It is a huge ice land that has not in the sea water yet.  Instead of fearing the melting of this ice land, people fear the dropping of this ice land.  If this large piece of ice drops into the sea water, the global sea level will increase by 17 meters, and, as a consequence, the major cities in the world, such as New York, Hong Kong, Shang Hai and Tokyo will be underwater.  So far, research shows that there are a few holes on Greenland.  One day, this large piece of ice will be drop in to the sea.  Scientists believe this will happens within 100 years.

Current greenhouse gas emissions will accelerate the melting of the base of Greenland.  The Australian youth also further illustrated that the consequences of this ice dropping will not stop after raising the global sea level by 17 meter.  In his words, there will be a large amount of fresh water come into the sea after the dropping of Greenland, and this fresh water will change the ratio of salts.  As a consequence, the few ocean currents will be shut down.  By doing so, the earth will come to the next ice age.  Therefore, the global warming has many consequences, and  climate change becomes more and more significant to human society.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Keith Nightenhelser permalink
    12/18/09 11:13 am

    Two other things to consider: the antarctic ice is mostly sitting on land, so ice-in-water principles don’t apply to it;

    And another big impact of a rapid Greenland melt is that flooding the North Atlantic with fresh water has the potential to shut down the gulf stream, which would make Western Europe cool rather rapidly. There’s a new study reported here:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/ireland/article6917528.ece

    that uses lake sediment data to argue that in a similar fresh-water-driven gulf stream shutdown at the start of an ice age about 12000 years ago, the British climate changed in only six months! Who knows if that study will hold up, but that’s really fast, although believable if the mechanism is a rapid shutdown of the gulf stream. And note also that the story was probably published in global-warming denier Rupert Murdoch’s times because it’s a global cooling scare story . . .

    Keep up the good work, dpu student bloggers!

    • puconghan permalink*
      12/18/09 6:28 pm

      Thank you very much for your reply and information about this theory. I will do more researches on this new theory. Thank you for the link as well. It is helpful

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