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Published on December 8th, 2007 | by Joshua S Hill

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UN Climate Panel to Tackle Greenland Next

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December 8th, 2007 by

800px-Greenland_scenery The award winning UN Climate Panel that took home this year’s Nobel Peace Prize (along with Al Gore) hopes to look towards the mysteries of Greenland. After three successive overall reports, released in 1995, 2001 and 2007, the panel may look towards more specific research targets.

One of these is the effect a thaw of the Greenland ice-sheet could have upon the world.

Dutch scientist Bert Metz, a senior member of the panel, said that the risks of an accelerated ice-melt in Greenland were among the unsolved issues in the most recent report. “There are still questions about the behavior of the big ice sheets, like Greenland, and the consequences of sea level rise,” he told Reuters.

One of the major issues that have recently been brought to scientist’s attention is the risk of great chunks of the Greenland ice-sheet falling in to the ocean. This poses problems unlooked for, compared to a slow melt of surface ice.

Recent research conducted in Antarctica has shown the terrible effects caused by global warming. Instead of a runoff in to the ocean the ice-melt acts like droplets of acid on paper; they work their way down through the ice-sheet and pool beneath it. This not only degrades the integrity of the sheet, but provides lubrication. The end result, as witnessed on the Antarctic Peninsula recently, is a massive break off of ice in to the surrounding waters.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel is currently awaiting the OK from their governments, for funding for new research projects. “There are voices that say we should postpone a global overview a bit and in the meantime do more focused special reports,” said Metz, who will be one of the 25 to receive the Nobel Peace Prize awarded on December the 10th.

The reports conducted by the IPCC believes that sea-levels will rise between 18 and 59 centimeters (7-23 inches) this century alone, but they do not take into consideration an accelerated Greenland melt, nor a melt of large areas of Antarctica, which is much less likely.

A few years ago “we thought a thaw of Greenland might happen but it would take thousands and thousands of years — ‘this chunk of ice will melt gradually from the outside’,” Metz said. “But now the latest information is that there may be different mechanisms, of water going down into crevasses and acting as a lubricant” beneath large areas of ice, he said.

The main risk, even greater than an unexpected rise of sea levels, is the effect such an event could have on the Gulf Stream.

At the end of the last ice-age when the North American Laurentide ice sheet retreated northwards, it left behind a great pool of freshwater. This inland ocean was the formation for the Great Lakes, but not until a great majority of the water spilled out in to the North Atlantic. The influx of freshwater stopped the Gulf Stream, which caused a brief cold period for Europe known primarily as the Younger Dryas.

The threat at hand today is that an influx of low-salinity water from chunks of ice off the Greenland ice-sheet could once again cause problems for the Gulf Stream. This could create a pocket-cooling across Europe, while the rest of the planet warms.

The latest IPCC report states that such a shutdown of the Gulf Stream is “very unlikely” but that the risks beyond that eventuality cannot be confidently reckoned.

 

Reuters via ENN – Greenland ice could be next puzzle for U.N. panel

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, a liberal left-winger, and believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I work as Associate Editor for the Important Media Network and write for CleanTechnica and Planetsave. I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), Amazing Stories, the Stabley Times and Medium.   I love words with a passion, both creating them and reading them.



  • Willem Van Aerschot

    clean energy ,and the solution for the Greenland gulfstream slowdown:

    Put in sea a construction of windmills (out of the reach of icebergs) combined with electric boilers, these get preheated by suncollectors and sunmirrors.
    the steam they produce gets used by steam engines wich produce again electricity ,salt and when you condesate the steam coming from the steam engines sweet water,the steam you don’t need you blow into the air.
    You take out salt water coming from the warm gulfstream and the left over salt from the steam engines gets used to release in the cold stream.
    So the cold stream gets saltier again and and won’t mingel with the warm gulfstream because before it was less saltier caused by the melting gletchers and slowing down the warm gulfstream becaurse less saltier water is lighter.
    Preventing an possibel iceage.
    The sweet water can then be used to make hydrogen ,so if there is for exampel a lot of wind and you don’t need all that electricity , you are abel to stock it and use it later.
    The rest of the steam you blow in the air.
    The oxygen deriving from turning water into hydrogen can be devided in sea to clean the water and to make more suitabel for marinelife.
    So you produce electricity and /or hydrogen
    Wich you get to shore with pipelines or from tanks with tankers and cabels
    Van Aerschot,willem
    Reppelse baan 47
    3271 Averbode,Belgium
    email:willemva@skynet.be

    Clean water ,clean energy ,and the solution for the gulfstream slowdown:

    Put in sea a construction of windmills combined with electric boilers, these get preheated by suncollectors and sunmirrors.
    the steam they produce gets used by steam engines wich produce again electricity ,salt and when you condesate the steam coming from the steam engines sweet water.
    The salt water you take out of salt water coming from the warm gulfstream and the left over salt from the steam engines gets used to release in the cold stream.Or you make the cooled down gulfstream saltier by taking water from the surface and steam it and put the salt in the cooled down gulfstream.
    So the cold stream gets saltier again and and won’t mingel with the warm gulfstream because before it was less saltier caused by the melting gletchers and slowing down the warm gulfstream becaurse less saltier water is lighter.
    Preventing an possibel iceage.
    The sweet water can then be used to make hydrogen ,so if there is for exampel a lot of wind and you don’t need all that electricity , you are abel to stock it and use it later.
    The rest of the water can with adding of minnerals serve as drinking water.
    The oxygen deriving from turning water into hydrogen can be devided in sea to clean the water and to make more suitabel for marinelife.
    So you produce electricity and drinking water and /or hydrogen
    wich you get to shore with pipelines and cabels

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  • Max

    Well, this is very interesting. It appears that the “meltdown theory” promulgated so far by IPCC, despite scientific evidence to the contrary, is working too slowly to provide much of a scare factor, so they are now coming up with a new theory.

    Let’s follow the development of the Greenland story:

    Using 11 years of 24/7 data from ESA satellites, researchers find that the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) is actually GROWING overall, rather than losing mass, due to massive snowfall in the vast interior of the island. The period studied was 1992-2003.

    IPCC ignores these reports and states in its 2007 ‘Summary for Policymakers’ report that GIS lost mass at a rate that was equivalent to a rise in sea level of 0.21 mm/year over the period 1993-2003

    This is still not very scary. At 0.21 mm/year sea level rise, Al Gore is going to have to wait 28,571 years for his 6-meter waves to swallow New York City, as he depicted in his sci-fi horror film, “An Inconvenient Truth”. The UN Secretary General will also have to wait much longer than his predicted 10 to 100 years for an “almost overnight” 6-meter rise (International Herald Tribune, November 17-18, 2007).

    Essentially all of the very minor sea level rise that did actually occur over the past century can be attributed to thermal expansion of warming oceans (as IPCC also confirms). This is also not very scary, since there is no 6-meter potential rise there, and most folks don’t really understand the concept of thermal expansion anyway.

    So the UN has a dilemma: it has to find a way to hide the not scary data on what is truly happening and replace it with predictions of horrible things that are going to happen fairly soon, if they cannot get their money-shuffling hundred+ billion dollar carbon taxes and cap and trade schemes implemented.

    Voila! The perfect solution. Let’s have a new study, paid by taxpayer dollars, to show that the GIS could “drop off into the ocean” and raise sea levels by several meters almost overnight. Then, for folks who live away from the coasts in Europe (and really wouldn’t mind at all if it got a bit warmer where they live), let’s throw in the “shutting down of the Gulf Stream” to really put a scare into them.

    This is not “science”. It is scare mongering at its worst.

    Max

  • Black Wallaby

    Hi Joshua, Reur lead article: UN Climate Panel to Tackle Greenland Next.

    I quote and then respond by your paragraph numbers.

    [2] “One of these is the effect a thaw of the Greenland ice-sheet could have upon the world.”
    RESPONSE: What do you mean by “the effect of a thaw”? ……Do you have anything quantitative?

    [3] “Dutch scientist Bert Metz, a senior member of the [IPCC] panel, said that the risks of an accelerated ice-melt in Greenland were among the unsolved issues in the most recent report. “There are still questions about the behavior of the big ice sheets, like Greenland, and the consequences of sea level rise,” he told Reuters.”
    RESPONSE: He is; Bert Metz of working group 3? Oh really?…….Who?……..not of WG1?

    [4] One of the major issues that have recently been brought to scientist’s attention is the risk of great chunks of the Greenland ice-sheet falling in to the ocean. This poses problems unlooked for, compared to a slow melt of surface ice.
    RESPONSE: Could you please explain the mechanics by which great chunks of the Greenland ice-sheet could fall into the ocean? For a start, the ice-sheet only covers 81-85% of the island, with only tiny portions extending into FLOATING ice-shelf, which in themselves by definition cannot fall into the ocean.

    [5] Recent research conducted in Antarctica has shown the terrible effects caused by global warming. Instead of a runoff in to the ocean the ice-melt acts like droplets of acid on paper; they work their way down through the ice-sheet and pool beneath it. This not only degrades the integrity of the sheet, but provides lubrication. The end result, as witnessed on the Antarctic Peninsula recently, is a massive break off of ice in to the surrounding waters.
    RESPONSE: 1) Please identify the “RECENT RESEARCH” 2) This description is SEVERALLY utter nonsense, but most importantly: There has been NO “massive break-off” of the ice-sheet in Antarctica! This alarmist statement is probably an allusion to the recent fracturing and floating away of some of the ice-shelves, (eg Larson) which were already floating ice, (by definition), and not part of the (grounded) ice-sheet. (Floating ice shelves are fundamentally unstable, can break-away, and have zero contribution to sea-level rise, because they have already displaced their own mass in water!)

    [6] The UN Intergovernmental Panel is currently awaiting the OK from their governments, for funding for new research projects. “There are voices that say we should postpone a global overview a bit and in the meantime do more focused special reports,” said Metz, who will be one of the 25 to receive the Nobel Peace Prize awarded on December the 10th.
    RESPONSE: Oh, so there may be a funding incentive?

    Will that do for now Joshua?
    Your comments please Joshua.

    Regards, Black wallaby

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