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back to article Scientists warn of FOUR-FOOT sea level rise from GLACIER melt

Scientists at NASA and the University of California, Irvine have concluded that the glaciers of West Antarctica are now in terminal decline and the resultant ice loss could raise global sea levels by up to four feet over the next few centuries. "The collapse of this sector of West Antarctica appears to be unstoppable," said UC …

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Unhappy

Note to self

buy only property high above sea level ...

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Re: Note to self

...checks map...present house is 23ft above mean sea level and 3 miles from shoreline. This could be tricky...well, only if I plan to live to 200 (which I do)

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Mushroom

Re: Note to self

Yes, just think how much that "beach-side" property will be worth by then. I'm assuming that you aren't 3 miles from Sizewell. Oh you are. Best move now if I were you.

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Happy

Re: Note to self

612m above sea level: I'm all right Jack!

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Re: Note to self

Ready to welcome all your new neighbours I hope.

Abidjan, population over 2 million, is around 50cm above sea level.

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Re: Note to self

I can see the sea from my flat... balls.

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Joke

I'm OK for now...

...but the folk downstairs are screwed.

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Facepalm

Re: Note to self

Sizewell is at least 20 feet above sea level and wont last 100 years.

Idiot.

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Re: Note to self

If you look at www.worldunderwater.org, you'll realise that there is nowhere on earth that won't be under water, everywhere will be under water, everywhere I tell you!

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Pirate

Re: I'm OK for now...

If I see four feet climbing out of the see, I'm heading the other way....fast....

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Meh

"Scientists warn of four-foot sea level rise as West Antarctic glaciers melt"

Again?

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Re: "Scientists warn of four-foot sea level rise as West Antarctic glaciers melt"

Maybe people, like, stuck their fingers in their ears the first time?

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Re: "Scientists warn of four-foot sea level rise as West Antarctic glaciers melt"

Yeah, well, if they keep showing more and more data maybe people will believe them by the time the water is up round their ankles.

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That's good to know. Now it's admitted that stopping "climate change" by reducing Co2 emissions won't work (obviously; not using cars didn't help doggerland much) maybe we might actually start considering doing something constructive that stands a hope in hell of being useful.

Something like mass construction of desalination plants and irrigation projects to turn deserts into gardens might slow down the rate of sea rise a little? (Massively, insanely expensive, but possibly a bit more effective than carbon trading)

Or how about going to hydrogen based fuel cells and taking up electrolysis in a really, really big way?

More boringly, we could just start a slow, multi century long project to build some very large, multi layered flood defences.

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FAIL

I do hope you're not planning on starting this gigantic waste of money now. Remember ""... it could take several centuries for all of the ice to flow into the sea". A foot a century and it hasn't even started yet. This is still all a prediction.

However, there is good news. We now have a concrete prediction that everybody can measure. Stick those big rulers into the shoreline and come back in several centuries. If the water hasn't gone up 4 feet, we can fire all of the doomsayers. Any that are still alive, that is.

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Fire the doomsayers!

The scientists failed to predict this, so we should ignore anything they say.

I've been right before!

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Or we could of course try and stop emitting so much CO2 and making the problem worse....

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No no no no no

More CO2 FIXES the problem

hot air makes Antarctica COLDER

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Happy

"Or we could of course try and stop emitting so much CO2 and making the problem worse...."

OK, you stop breathing first. I want to see how that goes before joining in.

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I guess you didnt bother reading fully. It's not the air temperature that is causing the melting. It is the sea.

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Or this report of British researchers who claim the Pine Island glacier has stopped moving.

Antarctic ice shelf melt 'lowest EVER recorded...'

Of course this report of British research is by Lewis Page so must be wrong while the bad news is by a researcher at those shining beacons NASA and UC Irvine so it must be correct.

Wake me up when the 'scientists' have agreed on what's happening. Not least because they will by then have a handle on predicting chaos and that would be the REAL result.

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Reducing CO2 emissions?

We haven't reduced CO2 emissions. They've gone UP quite markedly since all industry does is trade off their emissions against the carbon-scheme equivalent of tax avoidance.

Cutting ordinary car emissions won't help. It hasn't helped, so no citation needed.

The biggest 15 supercargo ships put out the same crap as all the world's cars *put together*. Stop that, first. At the same time, stop making the plastic rubbish that fills these container ships, and the problem is likely sorted overnight.

At which time I'd like to stop being hassled by the car-haters AND I'd like my PROPER LIGHTBULBS back.

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All good ideas except we wont need then as Antarctic ice is actually INCREASING massively. Except for the one small part featured in the 'study'

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Re: Reducing CO2 emissions?

"The biggest 15 supercargo ships put out the same crap as all the world's cars *put together*."

For the record - 15 super container ships do not emit the same CO2 as all the worlds cars put together,

However, due to the low grade fuel they use they do emit the same pollutants (mainly sulpher based compounds) as all the worlds cars.

http://www.gizmag.com/shipping-pollution/11526/

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Or just move to higher ground.

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Interesting

"All good ideas except we wont need then as Antarctic ice is actually INCREASING massively. Except for the one small part featured in the 'study'"

Link/source/quote please.

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Wakey wakey!

The scientists all agree

it's twats like page that have their heads wedged too far up their own arses to hear the news

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Coat

Re: desalination

Nope, cheap:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/05/02/water_vs_energy_analysis/

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Re: desalination

Too small a scale. We want to create an artificial river nile in the middle of Australia or Africa. Desalinating enough water to create the equivalent of a river nile, plus hundreds of miles worth of piping to take the water from the sea to somewhere inland to make said river and then irrigate it is not going to be cheap.

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Re: Reducing CO2 emissions?

The simpile solution to the cargo ship problem is to buy shit made in the UK (or in the US in my case). Not everything is made in China, and not everything made in the USA is 10 times as expensive either. In fact a lot of my USA made shit costs the same or less than the same crap made in China, and is usually better quality. You just have to look at the labels. The same thing probably applies to the UK.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wakey wakey!

What a fine scientific case you make there.

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Coat

Re: desalination

>We want to create an artificial river nile in the middle of Australia or Africa.

I see. Where I erred was trying to stay within the realm of reason.

>>>Last time I was just getting my coat. Now I need my damn brain medicine. It's in one of these pockets... somewhere. >>>

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Re: desalination

> "I see. Where I erred was trying to stay within the realm of reason."

Yep. If you were going to desalinate a huge amount of water and sink it into the ground, doing so right next to the sea would be a bit self defeating, wouldn't it? Especially since there is quite likely already freshwater revers used for irrigation nearby since they tend to flow into the sea.

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JLV
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Big Brother

Arrrgh. Building is on waterfront, 4ft above sea level.

Oh, wait, am renting.

Seriously, lots of Vancouver is borderline sea level. Richmond, right by airport, struggled with storms for a while.

Prime waterfront props _will_ get dikes, at some point, but I wouldn't be surprised this kind this kinda forecasts would cause uncertainty in say 10-20 yrs, if they start looking likely.

Something to take into account when parking a big chunk of your net worth for 20-30yrs?

Tinfoil hats.

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In all seriousness, I'd say sea level rise is probably the least of your worries. From what I remember of Vancouver, there's a big volcano thingy just over the border, and down by the water front there are signs warning of tsunami.

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Boffin

Vancouver is susceptible to multiple hazards, much like just about anywhere else.

Volcanism, Earthquakes/Tsunami, Flooding, Urban Interface fires and potential for Radiological incidents are the five I can think of off the top of my head. Terrorism could always happen as well (However in the US that's an issue for Homeland Security mostly and not Emergency Management aside from the immediate life or death response and recovery as well as maintaining a level of preparedness so that fire and emergency medical teams can respond. I know much more about Emergency Management, my degree's in it), especially if any pissed off Uighurs decide to take it out on the Han Chinese population in Richmond, which is a very real hazard and one I hope both Vancouver and Seattle are prepared for. But this isn't unusual in the least. I strongly doubt you'll find a city of over 25,000 anywhere in the world that doesn't have about 7 to 10 hazards associated with it so its not abnormally higher in Vancouver than anywhere else.

None of that means that a city that has those hazards is inherently unsafe either, that's largely subjective and depends quite a bit on city and higher authorities in regard to how well they plan, mitigate and respond as well as work together during all of those phases as well as recovery. In the US response is standardized under the Incident Command System that CALFIRE developed in the 70's. I'm not certain how Canada does it, its in all reality probably the same system, as the UN's International Strategy for Disaster Reduction does recommend ICS as a baseline command system.

It simply means that a particular hazard exists and an incident may or may not occur due to that hazard at varying degrees of severity.

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Now we all have a degree in Emergency Management

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Unhappy

"Seriously, lots of Vancouver is borderline sea level. Richmond, right by airport, struggled with storms for a while."

I think you'll find most port cities are...

London and New York for example.

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Anonymous Coward

Volcanism, Earthquakes/Tsunami, Flooding, Urban Interface fires and potential for Radiological incidents are the five I can think of off the top of my head.

don't forget extraterrestrial attacks and godzilla; oh wait, I may be thinking of sim-city...

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Hard to cope with?

So a massive 4 feet over 2 centuries is considered hard to cope with?

The biggest problem with the whole climate change debate is people over-hyping the severity.

In 200 years of a gradually changing average sea levels I'm sure any nation, or even local community could easily cope with this change. There will probably be some localized flooding from winter storms etc but we would had the technology to handle things like this for over 1000 years (The Westfriese Omringdijk Dyke was finished in 1250AD). So if medieval men with shovels could manage it I really doubt it will cause any long term problems with modern technology (let alone what will be developed in the next 200 years).

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JLV
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Boffin

Re: Hard to cope with?

First, IF this turns out to be true, this is 1 glacier system, albeit a major one. Greenland's not looking all that chipper either, every time it hits the news.

Second, 4 feet in several centuries doesn't tell you what the time distribution of the rise will end up being. Could be 1.5' in the next 100 years which would be goodly chunk from just one spot.

Third, I am sure Bengladeshis, all 155M*, fairly-impoverished-low-elevation, lot of them, would be thrilled at your optimism that they "just need to deal with it". I mean, obviously, their contribution to global warming, if it is indeed man-caused, is significant. They just have so many SUVs and 22000 sq ft mansions a la Al Gore over there.

* One could also remark that, maybe, just maybe, they would have been wiser not to number 155M in an area less than 4 times the size of Holland. And that in aggregate they must be contributing something. But that would be un-PC, so I wouldn't dream of doing it.

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Re: Hard to cope with?

I don't believe I said that Bangladeshis "just need to deal with it". What I said is that the world can easily deal with it (particularly if we put resources into mitigating the problems rather than wasting it on pointless counterproductive subsidies). However even the people of Bangladesh (with all its poverty) are in many ways less impoverished compared to the people 1000 years ago when dykes were first being constructed. They are significantly better able to cope, have access to better technology, skills and knowledge and could mitigate much of the problems at a local level if necessary even if the world fails to act (which realistically may be the case until after a few disasters). The high population density actually provides a benefit with regards to manpower per km of coastline.

More importantly we are currently spending billions on ineffectual methods to stop climate change which have a negative impact on world GDP (I accept some of the millions spent will be on useful programs as well). If we spent the next 50 years investing that money in impoverished nations instead the net benefits would almost certainly be vastly greater and we'd (and more importantly Bangladesh) would be in a far better position to cope with the changes in the climate (man made or not).

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FAIL

Re: Hard to cope with?

What the fuck dude? Have you ever seen the ocean? Have you ever built a wall? I don't know why I even ask. It's clear you've done neither.

You also seem to be just a bit out of date on your labor law. Dykes are dirt cheap and easy if:

a) The bulk of the work is already done, you just have to fill in the gaps

and

b) The closest thing to infrastructure you risk with an engineering failure in the dyke is the local stack of firewood.

Will sea levels rise four feet anytime soon? Who the fuck knows. But saying that four feet of change is a simple problem is a dumber thing to say than we're all doomed if we don't all go live in mud huts.

You've got absolutely no idea of how big a problem four extra feet of ocean is for the world we live in. Little things you don't even know exist, like the vents in natural gas and petroleum transfer pipelines, the pressurized gasses in subterranean high tension power line conduits, fucking subways, sewer, storm water, drinking water, over 80% of the planets safe harbor space. Hell, the undersea cables that connect dangerously simple minded numpties to world class engineers won't even work. That's weird huh? Those are already underwater, four more feet won't hurt will it? Christ. Nobody will know how much school you missed.

If money were no object it would still take decades to make the changes necessary to keep civilization as we know it working. It isn't just the four feet of water you can see that's the problem. Do you understand that? Four feet of sea level rise will mean telephone poles 300+ miles from the coast will no longer stand. Buildings even further from the coast will be destabilized past the point of habitability. Especially older cities like London and Paris.

Crop and livestock production facilities within ~100 miles of the coast will be completely worthless for their current use. Hope you're not a pork or chicken fan. Wine from everywhere except Australia and some of the weird ones from Chile will be shit.

Really stupid industrial mistakes we made 100+ years ago will be really, really big problems as nifty cool heavy metals, the first 25 years of nuclear waste, all those cool old school open pit copper mines with millions of pounds of mercury left there for safe keeping won't be safe anymore. Settling ponds will no longer be settle and decades of nifty chemicals that municipal water systems can't deal with will add new flavor to your water and food.

The impacts of four feet of sea level rise will cause more harm to life as we know it than just about any other scenario you could possibly imagine. We could rebuild after a 1970's nuclear shooting war faster, cheaper and more effectively than four feet of global sea level rise.

You're right about over hyping the risks of climate change. It's stupid. Should those changes come to pass the realities will be a lot worse than you imagine.

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Re: Hard to cope with?

Can you explain exactly why a four foot (or even forty foot) sea level rise would affect the undersea cables? The places were they enter/exit the sea may need some modification so the parts that are designed not be underwater remain so, but the parts that are thousands of feet deep on the seabed?

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Re: Hard to cope with?

According to what I've read the paper says that they're not expecting this four foot (metre?) rise for several hundred years, possibly a thousand. The Graun also said the report tells us that the decay of these glaciers *cannot* be stopped even if we take drastic action to curb emissions.

We have no alternative but to do something about it. In fact, in the face of a 4m rise, we'd probably be better off going hell for leather on developing the under developed world to make sure that as much of the globe has the opportunity to adapt.

Unless the authors of this paper are wrong. I know it's been peer reviewed and all, but it's just one paper. It might never happen or be faster, slower. It might be that the glaciers *would* slow if we dropped global temps, or that other changes in climate will cause more ice to form elsewhere in the Antarctic.

More research please...

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Thumb Up

Re: Hard to cope with?

I actually upvoted Don Jefe's post because that's got to be the best example of Poe's Law I have yet witnessed. Read his hysterical rant again if you downvoted it; his claims of the extent of the danger posed by a four foot sea-level rise are so outrageous he has to be pulling your leg. Where the Poe's Law comes in is that yes, there are actually people in this world who really believe this sort of thing; but I sincerely doubt any of them would have the cerebral capacity to read El Reg.

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FAIL

Re: Hard to cope with?

"More research please..."

We already (world-wide) spend $100B on this half science. It's time we sat back and actually looked at it for ourselves instead of through these proxies (scientists). In what other field would you let people who are running around like headless chooks dictate public policy to the whole world. If an asteroid was heading to the Earth, would you let the astronomer who first saw it dictate how people responded? Not a chance.

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Re: Hard to cope with?

4' - that would be easy to cope with if it was only that particular collection of glaciers that were melting.

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Re: Hard to cope with?

"a massive 4 feet over 2 centuries is considered hard to cope with"

Yes, very - lots of inhabited costal areas will be below sea level. And this is from just one glacier.

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