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October 24, 2007 / lazybug

What if All the Ice Melts? Oh No!

Yeah really. What would happen if all the ice on the Earth were to melt? Wouldn’t the world drown? Would countries shrink? Hoards of people will be forced to move away from the coastal areas. Entire civilisations will be wiped out. Animal species will be extinct. Err, hold on. Let’s get views from someone who understands this better that Al Gore and co.

xntricpundits directed me to an article by Robert Johnston, a PhD student (physics) at the University of Dallas. Johnston has published loads of stuff on global warming, including this paper whose title I’ve borrowed in part for this post. So here’s what he has to say about the ice melting thingy:

While today’s balance between the icecaps and global sea level has been relatively steady since about 1000 B.C., it would be careless to assume that this is the Earth’s natural state and that it should always be this way.


…recent stories have periodically appeared concerning the potential receding of the Greenland ice cap. Two points may be made regarding current understanding here. First, there is considerable disagreement as to the current rate of net ice cap loss–or even if there is net loss versus net gain. Second, even with temperature increases far greater than the dubious predictions of the IPCC, models indicate that Greenland’s ice cap would take 2,000 to 10,000 years to disappear.


Both Greenland and Antarctica, free of ice, have areas that would be below sea level. However, with the weight of this ice removed, Greenland and Antarctica would rise higher–this phenomena is called isostatic rebound. This rebound lags behind the removal of the ice (by thousands of years). Eventually, most of Greenland would probably be above sea level. However, significant portions of Antarctica would remain underwater.


Today the Earth has 148 million sq. km of land area, of which 16 million sq. km is covered by glaciers. A sea level rise of 66 meters would flood about 13 million sq. km of land outside Antarctica. Without polar ice, Antarctica and Greenland would be ice free, although about half of Antarctica would be under water. Thus, ice-free land would be 128 million sq. km compared to 132 million sq. km today.

and finally…

this sort of change cannot be affected by modern human activity even given many centuries. It is sad that some youngsters think that burning of hydrocarbons could cause the ice caps to melt and drown cities; it is criminal when teachers don’t correct this nonsense. And it should tell you much of environmental groups like the Sierra Club when they use such myths to further an extremist political agenda.

Suffices to say, there’s loads of stuff that we do not know about the effects that global warming would have on our planet. Note that the fact that global warming is for real is not being denied. I remember reading a scientist saying, if the earth got warmer, fewer people will die of cold. Is that good or bad?



Leave a Comment
  1. Liju Philip / Oct 25 2007 1:14 am

    Aha…some good points there.

    yup, world over winter kills more people than summer every year. anyway today the whole climate thing has been hijacked by some militant groups to further their own political or some other agenda.

  2. vinay / Oct 25 2007 11:53 am

    Good enlightenment. Hope this is all true.
    BTW Happy journey, enjoy the marriage. Meet you in your cousin’s reception.

  3. lazybug / Oct 25 2007 12:08 pm

    Thanks vinay.

  4. xntricpundits / Oct 25 2007 9:09 pm

    What really going to happen when the time comes-nobody knows..but there’s enough dough for Hollywood creative directors to rake some moolah out of this “GLOBAL WARMING “phenomenon.
    Gore got Nobel

  5. lazybug / Oct 26 2007 8:32 am

    Also, news channels in India have joined the likes of CNN and BBC in spreading ‘awareness’ about the grave threat to humanity.

  6. Andy / Dec 12 2007 8:32 pm

    Look all of you we know whats going to happen its allready happening with big storms over the world floods in the uk like we have never seen them wish everybody would just wake up and start acting because if we dont there going to be trouble im sorry to say but its true you people just dont want to belive till its too late well dont let me be the one told you so when it all does happen

  7. Lance / Jan 1 2008 6:30 pm

    What of the whales? There seems to be so many of them now days when I was a kid a whale in the bay was a big thing. Now with limited or no whale hunting I sight more whales in our bay every year. Will there be enough food in the sea for them and human consumption (think Japan) with global warming will there be more or less to feed on? What effect dose ice breaking ships have on ice? Once broken insulation layer is removed letting more sea melt more ice. I have also maintained that the modern car industry is the only responsible industry in the world due to the fact that it is really easy to pin them down. There so many other industries that can do almost anything they like with little or no control over their processes. I can’t believe that in China anyone worries about global warming. Overall I do believe the world will self correct a balancing act that has gone on for years with out people around to monitor the changes but it really is nice to think we can do something positive to help like not chopping every tree in sight building around it, buy a car that drinks less or cleaning up where we have been and leaving the environment a better place. The real horror story is poison that is seeping in to the ground from industrial industry there is no balancing act to correct this problem. Do you have any idea what happens in an old coal mine fills with underground water? Acid that is what happens and this seeps into rivers and kills fish. Waste disposal taking place in Africa like the dumping of outdated computer equipment is a problem nobody cares about. Each C.R.T screen has a few kg of lead in the form of a mask and it will never get recycled. Chemicals that are sold daily in shops all go one way down the drain or into the ground or air. I think about this every time I paint something, the motor industry has moved to water based paint. However thousands of people use toilet chemicals that are harsh and detergent that are strong. What is going to fix this?

  8. matfield / Apr 4 2008 2:53 pm

    just a easy question. give me a picture of the world map showing me that if all the ice melts. how much of the continents will be left. i live in south africa, and i wanna know where to move to. i need to know how far into the western cape of south africa the water will actually go according to our maps, i might be able to buy 5 kilometres away, and in a few years from now have beach front property.
    help me, the internet is useless when googling this.

  9. Tank / May 24 2008 9:54 am

    The main thing we should focus on is rising population. Nobody seems to talk about it, but the fact is that the planet is already overcrowded, and the number is growing rapidly. That’s the root of our problems and with the possibility of losing land to rising sea levels I hate to wonder what this world would be like in 200 years time. What we need is a few famines, tsunamis and nukes to level things out.

  10. shellster / Jun 15 2008 4:34 pm

    wow..great to see everyones open opinions on here..i hope this articles true..either way we die someday and at least we wont be here in 200 or more yrs to see anything go down..and yes..we do see the occassional hurricanes, floods and shit..people that’s been happening since’re just worrying about it now. Anyway.. all we can really do is live out the short lives we got and let the earth do its thing cause theres no way people have ever been able to change the earth without it’s permission anyways. p3ac3 out.

  11. estugarda / Sep 1 2008 10:17 am

    Oh, Earth will take care of itself alright. The problem is that it won’t take care of people (and many other species). Earth is ruthless in its beeing, altough this routhlessness can sometimes look beuatiful and peaceful to us. It is not bad though. Earth just wants to live no matter what, and global warning is its first aid. Global warning and its consequences are already here for some time now. Only short living and stupid humans fail to see that. It’s easier to close our eyes and say; “It will correct itself and besides I can’t do anything about it”.

    We can do something about it. Even if it won’t be enough, it is the only right thing to do.

  12. kjdf / Dec 15 2009 8:39 am

    Well we are like bacteria living in a fish bowl so I agree that we can,should and eventually must for health ,fertility of soil/clean water stop to every extent pumping/digging/spreading out the nasty chemicals and elements that the earth has naturally buried over time. That is unless you are ready to start paying for skyscrapper sized hepa filters so you don’t have to breather out your sphincter somehow to spare your lungs from being that of a 80 yr 2 pack a day smokers by your 6th birthday.
    youth is was pretty much covered in nothing but lava with volcanoes going off left and right and being pummeled by big chunks of wanna be planets.

    It has been cooked and frozen many times. So no the earth will be dandy no matter if there are 3 trillion american lifestyled people. And eventually the sun will have its growth, or a slowly approaching galaxy will come and disrupt,mangle, and blackhole it. Ain’t no human technology going to stop that.

    However plants and animals aren’t quite as hardy. People,dinosaurs, pretty much anything except a cockroach are fragile temporary little things and should in the interest of survival try not to make conditions hazardous for themselves.

    Point is the air you breathe,water you drink, and soil that supports your food,air,etc.. should be cared for. So those big smokestacks,exhaust, aren’t just co2 they are tens of thousands of nasties being put out at enormous volumes and if you ever came face to face with a fraction of it you would be wanting it to stop being everywhere.(world trade center rescue people for example- look at their pre/post exposure health)

    – A non lethal dose of poison is still not a good thing and
    -Don’t shit where you eat

    The last two lines is all that matters. If people would keep that in mind things would flow smoother.

  13. layla / Jan 3 2011 12:55 pm

    how dare you introduce like that you litte mincompoop hahahahahahah


  1. Half Truths About Global Warming « Akhil Tandulwadikar’s Blog

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