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"Giant Antarctic Icebergs and Crushing Existential Dread" Topic

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257 hits since 13 Jul 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0113 Jul 2017 9:26 p.m. PST

"I went to Antarctica 20 years ago, and I didn't care about ice shelves. I noticed one at last when the blinding white of the ice, struck up against an abidingly black ocean, made me understand at last why the penguins all around me and the orcas occasionally surfacing a few dozen feet away had the same basic color scheme. Evolution ain't stupid.

But evolution isn't smart, either, or we humans would be much better at perceiving patterns without such obvious visual clues. Like, when a 1.1 trillion-ton, 2,200-square-mile piece of ice breaks off of the Antarctic Peninsula—the fiddly spit-curl in the upper left1 of most maps of the continent—we might be able to see it not just as megasized glaciological action but as yet another piece of the global weirdness, increasing in magnitude and frequency, that tells us Earth is getting hotter, the seas are rising, and we are all in trouble.

Alas, no.

On its own, a massive iceberg unconsciously uncoupling from the Larsen C ice shelf won't raise sea levels along the world's coastlines—the newly-calved iceberg was already floating. Researchers from the UK-based Project Midas have been watching the region for decades and expected the break-up; they were there to be supportive just as they were when Larsen A split in 1995 and Larsen B collapsed in 2002…"
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Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP13 Jul 2017 11:55 p.m. PST

I say let's party like it's the end of the world!



Tango0114 Jul 2017 10:38 a.m. PST



Mithmee Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2017 12:01 p.m. PST

You do know that this has been happening for thousands of years.

Ice comes


Ice goes

But there will always be Icebergs

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2017 2:45 p.m. PST

Just ask the "Titanic."

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2017 3:33 p.m. PST

The icebergs are encroaching more and more. Just this last weekend my fridge iced up. It was a disaster.


Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP15 Jul 2017 5:41 a.m. PST

Always consider the source. In this day and age of fake news, that advice rings more true than ever.

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP15 Jul 2017 5:41 a.m. PST

CC thumbs up

14Bore23 Jul 2017 1:39 p.m. PST

Best thing read so far is that iceberg has been floating and its not doing anything it hasn't been doing for years.

Martin from Canada23 Jul 2017 1:50 p.m. PST

Best thing read so far is that iceberg has been floating and its not doing anything it hasn't been doing for years.

But, that ice was acting as a flying buttress for the rest of the ice shelf. Without support the land ice will slink ever faster into the sea and start calving like crazy.

Look at Dr. Richard Alley's Carson Lecture last year about the importance of flying buttresses with regards to glaciers.

YouTube link

Martin from Canada23 Jul 2017 1:59 p.m. PST

Oops, wrong link:

Here's another explanation about how the process can unfold:



(P.S. as for sources, even if it's Rolling Stone, this graphic is more or less exactly like the numerous graphics about calving and glacial collapse in my undergrad physical geography textbooks. I don't feel bad about the source)

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