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Why Worry About a LITTLE Melting Ice?

Could this become the quote of the epoch? Let’s hope not.

Obviously some Global Warming issues might be much larger than most sane people would care to admit.

global warming jokeThis cloudless photo comes courtesy of NASA. With luck this picture will help serve as a wake up call and put the Climate, Carbon and Methane crisis into proper perspective.

Don’t worry no one died and made me Epoch. The word epoch is not a title like the Grand Poobah of the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes made famous by the Hanna Barbera cartoon the Flintstones. An Epoch is a measurement of time. It can mean “at the moment” an instant in time that is being referenced. In this case I was also thinking about a possible zen or eureka type moment when people might say “they got it” and saw the bigger picture. It also means the start of a historically significant period of time. Geologically speaking Epochs are longer than Eras.

Is Antarctica’s relative size to the other continents really correct?

Hard to say since it depends if you include the ice surrounding the continent during various times of the year…and there is a thing called “artistic license” to help make a point.  Funny many people don’t even believe that Australia, Africa, South America are also the correct size relative to the USA and Europe etc. as well. It seems that many maps and globes even after the first pictures from space were taken have not been printed properly to scale as many inflate the size of the landmass in the north compared to the southern hemisphere.  As far as this picture is concerned there is the foreshortening effect of a Mercator projection that makes the areas farther from the equator appear much larger.  Editors Note: There is a link to an image in the comments that corrects for the distortion.

If melting snow and ice is an issue why not include the North pole in the picture?

There is more than enough of drama already in this story, so there is no need to use a lot of extra artistic license or prey on those with little understanding of science to make additional points. The ice at the North Pole is floating in the ocean and unlike ice sitting on land in Greenland or Antarctica etc in the form of glaciers and ice sheets when it melts it will not cause the sea level to rise. This is true because of Archimedes’ principle, which explains basically how objects float.

Ice takes quite awhile to melt right so people living near oceans can just leisurely move to higher ground when it becomes necessary?

Yes and no on both points. The rate at which ice melts can change quite rapidly and just because ice has been melting at a relatively slow manageable rate doesn’t mean that situation will persist. There are several factors that can cause a rapid increase in the rate at which ice melts such as a change in atmospheric composition (an increase in Carbon and Methane for example) or movement in historical jet stream or ocean currents. Since the vast majority of the major cities on the planet (and the population) currently live near the ocean it would be problematic at the very least to relocate them.

What’s not shown in the Quote of the Epoch picture?

Melting ice and snow are just visible symptoms of much larger issues relating to climate change and how the media, governments and corporations interact—and most importantly why little has been accomplished to mitigate the downside risk to humanity. Obviously it is hard to see an increasing threat of rising sea levels in a two dimensional image.

What also can’t be seen is that vast temperature swings between hot and cold regularly occur during easily measurable time periods, however, the global average temperatures over longer term periods does not change very much. The picture of the planet can change quite a bit with just a few degrees of global average temperature.

In addition it is hard to see the constituent parts that make up the atmosphere without instruments. What appears to be happening is that humans have in affect turned up the temperature on the planetary oven to a temperature corresponding to an atmospheric carbon count of approximately 400 parts per million. The last time the atmosphere of the planet contained CO2  at current values the sea level was 75 feet (23 meters) higher than today and humanoid mammals had not even evolved yet! Sadly the carbon count is also just one factor to consider, other greenhouse gasses such as methane levels and other factors associated with fossil fuels use certainly play a big but invisible part as well in climate change.

KBs Quote of the Epoch500


Green-Eco-EV News Reporting by Ken Green Burridge

kenneth green burridge

Kenneth Burridge test-drives electric Nissan LEAF in Melbourne Australia

EV of the Year Judge, independent green journalist, photographer, author and sustainability activist that has published over 1000 articles. Mr Burridge’s travels have taken him to over 30 countries and 300+ major cities. He is originally from the USA, but has been residing in Australia for the last seven years. Connect to Ken Burridge on: Twitter, facebook, Google+Linked in or website