|GIS drainage system (click to see it writ large)|
Whether planning their late summer field trips from their labs, or whether checking out conditions "on the ground," they are watching a segment of alarming climate change.
While "on the ice" in the past few years, they have discovered something like a city storm drain system which "works fine" during the melt season, but which does some things that cause concern during the late summer.
This is associated with what meteorologists have discovered, which is yet another concern for current civilization.
It is trouble in the form of rain storms that seem to stall and to stay in one place for an inordinate amount of time.
Storms with a potential secondary effect, abrupt ice melt or flow, due to a liquid fulcrum of sorts:
A new study, just published in Nature Geoscience, makes an important new contribution to our understanding of the forces at play in Greenland. Dr Samuel Doyle and an international team captured the wide-scale effects of an unusual week of warm, wet weather in late August and early September, 2011. They found that cyclonic weather led to extreme surface runoff – a combination of ice melt and rain – that overwhelmed the ice sheet’s basal drainage system. This drive a marked increase in ice flow across the entire western sector of the ice sheet that extended 140 km into the ice sheet’s interior.(Storms On Greenland Ice Sheet, emphasis added). Let's contemplate that with a more direct and succinct description:
It wasn’t just rainfall. We saw 10 to 15% of the total annual surface melt occur in this event in late summer 2011. When this water reached the bed, the ice sheet lifted up and moved faster towards the sea.(ibid,emphasis added, cf. Seemorerocks). The "bed" is the bedrock, the basal foundation, upon which the glacier or ice stream slides toward the sea.
The jet streams push these types of storm fronts along, steering them like cattle guided by fences or geological formations.
The jet streams herd the weather to all of us.
Nowadays, the jet streams often seem to be behaving like worn out rubber bands.
They stretch way down and way up in loops that go further north and south, and stay in place longer than they did in yesteryear.
Thus, they can and do have the same impact on ice sheets that they have had on land.
Impacts of catastrophic flooding that we have seen all over the place this year.
It is not the job of these scientists to tell us where this is going.
Their job is well done once they tell us that when the melt water or calving ice of these glaciers or ice streams reach the ocean, the ocean level will rise.
Nor is it their job to tell us where that sea level rise will have an impact.
That should be obvious:
"By volume, more than 95 percent of U.S. international trade moves through the nation's ports and harbors, with about 50 percent of these goods being hazardous materials."(Will This Float Your Boat - 8, cf. The 1% May Face The Wrath of Sea Level Rise First, Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 44). But we live in an age where what we "know" is what someone we trust and believe tells us (The Pillars of Knowledge: Faith and Trust?).
The status quo is this:
To spark our interest, and bind ourselves to a sober view of this phenomenon which is called "The Biggest Story in the World" (according to a worldwide circulation news source), first consider the following quote from the video below:(Greenland & Antarctica Invade The United States). That is Antarctica, but what about Greenland?
2:43 - "One meter [of SLR] would be a global catastrophic event, 3 meters would remap the world as we know it?"(emphasis added). This allows us to focus our attention on 1m / 3ft. of SLR, because it would be "a global catastrophic event."
2:50 - "Yes, absolutely."
The delicacy of the issue can be seen (Fig. 2) by realizing that only 1.14% of the global ice volume needs to melt to get us there (3 ft ÷ 263.5 ft. = 0.011385 = 1.14%).
The overall invader needs to use only 1.14% of its forces to accomplish the invasion.
If a small portion of one glacier (the Totten Glacier) in East Antarctica melts, or otherwise slides into the sea, the same will happen:
"How little it will take can also easily be seen by a statement from a scientist who is studying those locations closely and regularly:(Why Sea Level Rise May Be The Greatest Threat To Civilization). That is a slim margin, because the Totten Glacier is showing signs of decomposition (Nature).
'One of them, Totten glacier, holds the equivalent of seven metres of global sea level.'(Dr. Rignot East Antarctica glaciers, cf. Totten Glacier Melting). The percentage of that one glacier which needs to melt to cause 3 ft. / 1 m. of SLR is: 1÷7 = 0.142857143 = 14.3%."
The same Dredd Blog post contains the following numbers about the Greenland ice sheet (GIS):
In Section I, above, several ice streams and/or glaciers are discussed and shown, along with the path they are taking to the sea (Fig. 1).(Greenland & Antarctica Invade The United States). The melt water, storms, and warming events, both from the warming ocean and warming atmosphere, are pushing massive glacier ice and melt water to the sea.
The NEGIS is 16% of the entire GIS, JI is 8%, while KG & HG at ~2% each.
These four entities make up 28% of the total ice in the GIS.
The entire GIS represents 21.49 ft. of SLR (Fig. 2), so 28% of that is (21.49 × .28) 6.02 feet.
Which means that only half of that amount (14%) is needed to reach "3 ft. / 1 m. of SLR."
Which is causing the oceans to rise faster and faster.
In a port near you.
The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.
Port infrastructure at risk: