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What would happen to the world’s oceans if all the ice in Greenland melted?

Charles Kraut

22 August 2019

It has been trumpeted in the popular media in recent weeks, with CNN leading the charge, that the ice in Greenland is melting at an astonishing rate, threatening the world with inundation due to (of course) man-made global warming.

The big talking point is the assertion, verified by some unknown quantity of anonymous scientists, that if all the ice in Greenland melted sea levels worldwide would rise 7.5 metres.

For us Americans who still cling to pounds and feet, 7.5 metres translates to 24 feet, 4½ inches.  That is a very scary number – which is what it is intended to be.

Sea levels 24 feet higher would completely flood numerous islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans.  It would flood many of our major coastal cities, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of millions (Bangladesh, Mumbai, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, Lisbon, Hong Kong, Shanghai, the Gulf Coast, and so on.)  It would be an all-around disaster of unprecedented magnitude, no question about it.

The idea behind the Greenland scare is to add one more Chicken Little voice (“the sky is falling, the sky is falling!”) to a growing chorus of “woe is me” Progressives who demand that we spend trillions of dollars to accomplish some undefined purpose which, they freely admit, may not make the slightest bit of difference in solving a problem which in fact may not exist.

According to National Geographic . . .

“Global mean sea level rose at an average rate of about 1.2 mm (0.05 inch) per year over much of the 20th century, with shorter terms during which the rise was significantly faster (5.5 mm [0.2 inches] per year during the period from 1946 to 1956). This variable rise has been shown to have occurred for a very long time. The sea level appears to have been very close to its present position 35,000 years ago. It dropped 130 metres (426 feet) or more during the interval from 30,000 to 15,000 years ago and has been rising ever since. Fluctuations of equivalent magnitude probably have accompanied the alternate growth and melting of continental glaciers during the Pleistocene Epoch (from 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago) because the ocean’s waters are the ultimate source of glacial ice. Slower changes in the shapes and sizes of the ocean basins have less effect.” (Emphasis added; see https://www.britannica.com/science/sea-level for more information.)

The myth of man-made global warming

Yes, it’s true.  Man-made global warming is likely a myth invented to frighten little children into demanding that their parents “do something” to keep the bogeyman away.  Folks like Al Gore have decided that the path to power - and absolutely enormous wealth - is to tax the residents of this planet as punishment for their terrible “crime” of bringing mankind out of the Dark Ages into our current era of health care, clean air and water, immense technological advancement, and, of course, indoor plumbing.

The weapon in this war against civilization, democracy, and the Constitution is what are known as “greenhouse gases.”  There are several such gases, including water vapor, methane, and carbon dioxide.  These gases, we are told, act in our atmosphere to reflect heat bouncing off our planet’s surface back toward earth, thus increasing planetary surface temperatures.

There is some truth to this.  Reliable scientific studies have demonstrated this effect. Since it can also be demonstrated that global surface temperatures have been rising for some time (actually, since the late 1970s, when scientists stopped being concerned that the planet was cooling rapidly), various individuals and groups have been attempting to link industry and the use of fossil fuels to significant and dangerous global warming. The problem is that the IPCC and others claim that CO2 bears the primary responsibility for global warming, and that simply is not true.

Greenhouse gases

This attempt has been problematic at best.  First, the most important greenhouse gas by far is water vapor, and industry is clearly not responsible for or able to control water vapor in our atmosphere.  That leaves methane and carbon dioxide as the two main culprits.  Methane is essential in residential and industrial applications, but when it is used it is converted to other gases.  The methane we are supposed to be concerned about is raw methane derived from cow flatulence.

Therefore, “they” claim, we must destroy the world’s cows and cattle to prevent the global warming apocalypse we have been indoctrinated to fear.  We will save that bit of nonsense for another time.

That leaves carbon dioxide as the primary object of the global warming crowd. Because industry and transportation both produce carbon dioxide (CO2) in the billions of tons, they say, we must stop doing so or face annihilation. 

This simple declaration is the most important talking point of the 21st Century, for it has the power to change the world – and not for the better.  It’s not hard to imagine a world without industry if you know your history; just think of the early 1800s and life without trains, cars, trucks, airplanes, factories and, yes, indoor plumbing.

And yet, this is what has been demanded by people, some of them in positions of power or wealth (or both) all over the world.  CO2 will destroy us if we do not stop producing it.

On the strength of this we are told we must create massive new bureaucracies to police the world and ensure that we not only cease the production of CO2 but reverse its effects on the planet.  Such an effort would bankrupt the entire world and would have no more effect than tilting at windmills.

A fundamentally flawed argument

There are only a couple of flaws with the “CO2 = death for all life on earth” dogma.  The most important, of course, is that it is untrue.  A careful study of the scientific data reveals that much of the data that has been published regarding this manufactured crisis is hypothetical, to put it politely, and a pack of lies, to put it bluntly.  The primary driver of this data has been the IPCC, funded by the United Nations (your tax dollars at work) who initially produced the infamous “hockey stick” chart showing that the world would reach a tipping point from which global temperatures would rise rapidly and incinerate us all (did you ever watch “The Day the Earth Caught Fire”?)

Above: the infamous IPCC “Hockey stick” chart predicting major global warming. This original northern hemisphere hockey stick graph of Mann, Bradley & Hughes 1999, smoothed curve shown in blue with its uncertainty range in light blue, overlaid with green dots showing the 30-year global average of the PAGES 2k Consortium 2013 reconstruction. The red curve shows measured global mean temperature, according to HadCRUT4 data from 1850 to 2013.

This chart was and remains a fraud, for it mixes several incompatible data sources and extrapolates to bogus conclusions.

More to the point, no studies, politically motivated or otherwise, have demonstrated conclusively that CO2 has any significant impact on global temperature changes.  There are hundreds of factors involved, and the most important of them involve the sun and solar cycles.  However, we can’t control the sun, and the global warming folks haven’t figured out how to squander trillions of tax dollars to place a giant umbrella between the earth and the sun. (Maybe I shouldn’t even suggest it; Carl Sagan, are you still out there?)

Carbon dioxide is essential

It is also troubling, to say the least, to condemn CO2 when it is without question an essential gas.  All life on earth depends on it. Rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere have increased crop yields, reduced the quantity of major natural disasters, enabled an extra 2 to 3 billion people to live on this planet, and helped offset the decline in bee populations which are essential to pollinate 25% of our food crops. We literally can’t live without CO2; in fact, it is believed by some that if the CO2 level fell to 150 parts per million all life on earth would eventually cease.  We are fortunate that the Industrial Revolution raised levels from their dangerously low level in the upper 200 ppm (parts per million) three centuries ago.

And there you have it.  The media, some scientists who should certainly know better, major universities, many governments, both state and national, innumerable Leftists and Progressives, and not a few unbalanced individuals claim that we must stop global warming.  Pardon me; “global warming” has morphed into “climate change” because none of the global warming crowd’s predictions over the past thirty years have come to pass.

The reality of climate change

On the other hand, climate change is very real.  It has been with us since long before man walked the earth.  Climate changes constantly and will always do so.  What we need to do is take a deep breath and look at the real data from reliable sources.  Look at the long-term trends rather than the specially prepared charts that push the “sky is falling” propaganda.  The difference between the truth and the fake “evidence” being foisted on us each day is amazing.

Therefore, to debunk the latest bit of scientific fiction being trumpeted by the media, let’s return briefly to that dire warning about the ice in Greenland.

Back to Greenland . . .

Greenland, we are informed by Wikipedia, the largest island in the world, has 677,855 square miles of its 836,330 square miles of surface covered by ice.  The ice cover is as much as 3,000 metres (about 9,750 feet) thick (or more in spots, as stated by other sources.). 

That’s an enormous amount of ice. The claim is that if it all melted (which is extremely unlikely, for obvious reasons) the resulting water would raise global sea levels by 7.5 metres or 24.375 feet, as I explained previously.  Let’s do the math:

The math . . .

  1. The Greenland ice sheet has an average depth of 2,000 meters, or about 6,500 feet. 6,500 feet = 1.23106 miles. (See http://www.dimensionsinfo.com/greenland-ice-thickness/)
  2. Greenland’s 677,855 square miles of ice times an average thickness of 1.23106 miles = 834,480.6 cubic miles of ice.
  3. The earth’s surface area is calculated at 4πr2 . r is the radius of the earth, which is 3,958.8 miles. In other words, if you drilled straight down from most places on earth, once you had drilled to a depth of 3,958.8 miles your drill would be at the center of the earth’s core – and would be very hot. (See https://www.wikihow.com/Find-the-Surface-Area-of-a-Sphere.)
  4. r2 = 3,958.8 times 3,958.8, or 15,672,097.
  5. Multiply 15,672,097 by π =  49,235,304.6
  6. Multiply 49,235,304.6 by 4 = 196,941,218. That means that the surface of the earth is 196 million 941 thousand 218 square miles. (By comparison, the 48 contiguous states of the United States occupy about 3 million square miles.)
  7. The portion of the earth’s surface currently covered by water is approximately 71% (See https://www.universetoday.com/65588/what-percent-of-earth-is-water/).
  8. 196,941,218 square miles times 71% = 139,828,265 square miles of the earth’s surface that are covered by water.

Now we “distribute” that melted ice across the world’s oceans.  Keep in mind that water occupies approximately 92% of the volume of ice, so that our 834,480.6 cubic miles of ice becomes 767,722 cubic miles of water.

767,722 cubic miles of water distributed out over 139,828,265 square miles of water on the earth’s surface = .00550 miles of depth of additional water on each square mile of water.  0.00550 miles = 29.04 feet.

29.04 feet is more than 7.5 metres , the number being promoted by the media.  However, it assumes that all the ice in Greenland would melt, which is a virtual impossibility.  It simply is not going to happen under any scenario including those produced by the climate change crowd.

One last pertinent fact: this water from melted ice in Greenland will not remain in the oceans and seas as they exist today.  As sea levels rise, low-lying areas will be inundated, thus decreasing the maximum height to which sea levels could rise if all the ice in Greenland were to melt – which it won’t. I can’t venture a guess as to the square miles of land lying at less than ten feet or twenty feet above water level.  If you can find a reliable source for that information, please let me know.

The glaciers are not the icepack

What is happening is that water temperatures under the glaciers are rising to previously unseen levels, causing the glaciers to melt more quickly.

Greenland has a huge number of glaciers carrying vast amounts of ice.  It has been estimated that 1 billion tons of ice are carried off by the glaciers each year, and with rising sea temperatures that amount may be increasing.

Glaciers are formed by precipitation, when water vapor in the air falls to the ground as snow, rime, or water.  Water, even frozen water, always seeks its own level.  Frozen water at high altitudes always seeks lower altitudes.  Therefore, we have rivers of ice just like we have rivers of water.  The ice rivers tend to move a bit more slowly.

In other words, a glacier re-introduces ice back into the rivers and oceans as water, water it received from the sky as a normal and essential function of the hydrologic cycle.

What should we do?

Therefore, we should do three things:

  1. Turn off the alarm about sea levels rising 7.5 metres. If the planet were to warm sufficiently to melt all the ice in Greenland, we would have even more serious problems to worry about than relocating a few million people.

 

  1. Since something significant is going on with underwater currents in the north Atlantic. a serious scientific research study needs to take place to determine its cause. That research should be funded by all governments (except perhaps Switzerland, which is one of the few truly landlocked nations and won’t be bothered by rising sea levels.) I still believe NASA is competent and sufficiently reliable to give us the truth.

 

 

  1. Break the assumed link between man-generated CO2 and the melting of the Greenland glaciers. There could be any number of reasons for the increase in water temperatures, undersea volcanic activity among them.

 

  1. Concentrate on real problems that we can actually deal with, such as the proliferation of millions of tons of plastic in our oceans. Much of the world’s food supply comes from our oceans; we should protect them as best we can. Research into biodegradable plastic, a huge reduction of the quantity of single-use plastic containers, and other means can be developed. In addition, a vigorous series of scientific studies needs to take place to find the best and most cost-effective ways to remove all this plastic junk and the microparticles it can break into.  Plastic is not just harming sea life; it finds its way into many of the foods we eat.

Conclusion

Climate change is always with us.  Today, it looks like we are having a brief incident of global warming (measured primarily by surface temperatures, which are not entirely reliable). Man-made global warming, however, remains completely unproven.

Man’s puny efforts (such as raising the CO2 level in our atmosphere from about 280 ppm to its current level of about 400 ppm) has had only beneficial effects.  The slow rise in sea levels has been occurring for a very long time, and it may eventually inundate some islands.  The people on those islands will need to be relocated.  I hope they are saving up for the trip.

Trying to alter the course of nature is another matter entirely.  We simply don’t know enough, and even if we did there is almost certainly nothing we can do. King Canute, it seems, knew he could not hold back the tide, and his attempt to do so was merely to demonstrate to his non-Christian subjects that he was only a mortal man like them.

The great crime being perpetrated upon mankind today is this notion that we can control nature, that we can replace God, and that we are masters of our own destinies.  We cannot and we are not.  Those who preach that we can are those who have their own agenda. 

Climate change has become the only bandwagon in town; scientists, professors, politicians, and others recognize that all their funding and power comes from advancing this fatally flawed agenda. Standing up against this huge body of lies and disinformation is like standing in the path of an elephant stampede.

It is shameful that so many people have signed on either in ignorance or because they have something to gain, and as a result are willing to make us live in fear.  Cui bono? Who benefits from the pronouncement that the earth has only twelve years left to live?  Only those who know it is a lie and who stand to profit from that lie.

Let’s find the truth and promote the truth.  On the way, let’s exercise some faith in that God who created us all.

 

Charles Kraut

Lexington, Virginia

 

For more information . . .

Inconvenient Facts: the science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know, by Gregory Wrightstone

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change, by Marc Morano.

The Neglected Sun by Fritz Vahrenholt and Sebastian Luning

Thermohaline circulation transports and mixes the water of the oceans. In the process it transports heat, which influences regional climate patterns. The density of seawater is determined by the temperature and salinity of a volume of seawater at a particular location. The difference in density between one location and another drives the thermohaline circulation.

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