Abstract: update on Sea Level Rise. The meat of the essay is at the end, in the section “THE SITUATION IS ACTUALLY CATACLYSMIC“.
Heard of The Flood? As in the Bible? Sea level rose 120 meters (400 feet), in the period centered around 10,000 years ago. The cause? More than half of Earth’s ice melted in a few millennia, During the rest of the early Holocene, the rate of rise of the world’s ocean reached peaks as high as 60 millimeters (2.5 inches) per year. The melting of the ice happened because Earth’s positional and orbital parameters had made northern hemisphere’s summers too warm (most of the ice shields rested on the large continents of the north). Nowadays only two enormous ice shields are left: Greenland and Antarctica.
Those who enjoy catastrophes will love it: we have 75 meters of further sea rise to enjoy pretty soon, on our way to a Jurassic climate (the Jurassic was characterized by gigantic warm shallow seas on top of the continents). Her was the situation in the Miocene, when CO2 was at 500 ppm (where we will be at in ten years, see conclusion below).
[Even then, that picture from the U.of Mass. did not fully collapse the Aurora Basin, up right, which I expect to collapse first. Maybe they did not drill there, and are just speculating, whereas I have a reasoning on the Totten Glacier, outlet to the Aurora extremely deep basin, which is being quickly undermined as we speak.]
Says the New York Times in “Seas Are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries”:
“The worsening of tidal flooding in American coastal communities is largely a consequence of greenhouse gases from human activity, and the problem will grow far worse in coming decades, scientists reported Monday.
Those emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, are causing the ocean to rise at the fastest rate since at least the founding of ancient Rome, the scientists said. They added that in the absence of human emissions, the ocean surface would be rising less rapidly and might even be falling.
The increasingly routine tidal flooding is making life miserable in places like Miami Beach; Charleston, S.C.; and Norfolk, Va., even on sunny days.
Though these types of floods often produce only a foot or two of standing saltwater, they are straining life in many towns by killing lawns and trees, blocking neighborhood streets and clogging storm drains, polluting supplies of freshwater and sometimes stranding entire island communities for hours by overtopping the roads that tie them to the mainland.”
In a way, this is Biblical justice, perfectly appropriate for a deeply Christian community: America has sinned, being, by far, the most country most guilty in the burning of fossil fuels (and don’t brandish China: this is the place where global plutocrats, mostly of US obedience, have their factories, so that they can escape all regulations, including those trying to abate fossil fuel burning (all European countries have de facto hefty carbon taxes).
The USA is guilty of letting its plutocrats run amok, not just subjugating civilization, unleashing the terrorists, but also, even worse, burning their way through the biosphere. Now the USA has to pay the price. New York Times:
“Such events are just an early harbinger of the coming damage, the new research suggests.
“I think we need a new way to think about most coastal flooding,” said Benjamin H. Strauss, the primary author of one of two related studies released on Monday. “It’s not the tide. It’s not the wind. It’s us. That’s true for most of the coastal floods we now experience.”
In the second study, scientists reconstructed the level of the sea over time and confirmed that it is most likely rising faster than at any point in 28 centuries, with the rate of increase growing sharply over the past century — largely, they found, because of the warming that scientists have said is almost certainly caused by human emissions.
They also confirmed previous forecasts that if emissions were to continue at a high rate over the next few decades, the ocean could rise as much as three or four feet by 2100.
Experts say the situation would then grow far worse in the 22nd century and beyond, likely requiring the abandonment of many coastal cities.
The findings are yet another indication that the stable climate in which human civilization has flourished for thousands of years, with a largely predictable ocean permitting the growth of great coastal cities, is coming to an end.
“I think we can definitely be confident that sea-level rise is going to continue to accelerate if there’s further warming, which inevitably there will be,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, a professor of ocean physics at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Germany, and co-author of one of the papers, published online Monday by an American journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In a report issued to accompany that scientific paper, a climate research and communications organization in Princeton, N.J., Climate Central, used the new findings to calculate that roughly three-quarters of the tidal flood days now occurring in towns along the East Coast would not be happening in the absence of the rise in the sea level caused by human emissions…The change in frequency of those tides is striking. For instance, in the decade from 1955 to 1964 at Annapolis, Md., an instrument called a tide gauge measured 32 days of flooding; in the decade from 2005 to 2014, that jumped to 394 days.”
Four feet by 2100? 1,2 meter? That would be nice; it would give us plenty of time to correct the error of our ways. In truth, we are running out of time. I think a minimum of 40 feet (12 meters) is likely. By the way, we have enough refined knowledge now to know that the “Little Ice Age” between 1400 CE and 1800 CE dropped sea level by 8 centimeters.
THE SITUATION IS ACTUALLY CATACLYSMIC. The United Nations’ IPCC did not include in its computations the possible melting of the ice shields of Greenland and Antarctica. For three reasons: first, it was viewed as impossible, before, at least a few millennia; secondly, there was no mathematical model for the melting; finally, no plausible mechanism was held to be plausible to melt said ice shields.
My reasoning is the exact opposite: first an obvious mechanism for the melting of the ice shields exists: the ice shields can up up to 4 kilometers thick. Thus they press down on the continental crust so much, that much of Greenland and Antarctica is well below sea level. Not by just a few hundred feet, but outright, by kilometers. Deeper than the Grand Canyon. In these gigantic areas, the ice of the ice shields is in direct contact with the continental crust. Those areas are protected by rock thresholds on the margins of the ice shields (where the crust goes back up, because where the ice ends, there is no more weight pressing down on the continent).
Right now, warm water, which is denser at 4Centigrades (40 Fahrenheit), eats at the “grounding lines” of the ice shields where the ice of the shields touches the rock directly. When past the threshold, warm water will be able to drop down on the other side, deeper than the Grand Canyon, and should be able to shock fracture and melt a Texas sized ice shield ice shield in a few decades. That will be found all too soon.
Scientists presently handsomely paid to strike moderates postures will be very “surprised”.
Three scientific papers published in the last two months support my, admittedly drastic, point of view. One observed the collapse of a colossal glacier in northwest Greenland, eaten by a current at one degree C. It was a miniature reproduction of what to expect for entire ice shields. Two others observed the past, and that Antarctica was unstable at 500 ppm CO2. What they did not say is how dramatic the situation was. Indeed, sounding moderate is how they get funded by a benevolent, plutocratically ruled government (and by government, I also mean the corrupt Supreme Court, not just the latest elected buffoons). The scientists who evoked the 500 ppm of CO2 omitted two significant details, where the devil lurks. They claimed that it would take 30 years to get there. That’s not correct; at the present rate, we will add 100 ppm of CO2 within 25 years. But not just that: there are other man-made GreenHouse Gases (GHG): CH4, NOx, Fluorocarbons, etc. All these gases warm up the lower atmosphere much more than CO2. So the correct measurement is not CO2 ppm, but CO2 EQUIVALENT ppm.
We are right now ABOVE 450 ppm in EQUIVALENT CO2, and will be at 500 ppm within ten years. Let’s hope there will be more boats than on the Titanic.
P/S: If anything, the preceding is a conservative estimate. Indeed very serious scientists evaluated already the man-made greenhouse gases at 478 ppm in 2013. This means we will be above 500 ppm in CO2 equivalent within six years, in line with my previous analyses, such as “Ten Years To Catastrophe“. See: