CNN – This week, a trillion-tonne hunk of ice broke off Antarctica.
You probably know that. It was all over the Internet.
Among the details that have been repeated ad nauseam: The iceberg is nearly the size of Delaware, which prompted some fun musing on Twitter about where exactly Delaware is and how anyone is supposed to approximate the square footage of that US state. The ice, which has been named A68, represents more than 12% of the Larsen C ice shelf, a sliver on the Antarctic Peninsula. And most important: None of this has anything to do with man-made climate change.
The problem: That last detail — the climate one — is misleading at best.
At worst, it’s wrong.
Some scientists think this has a lot to do with global warming.
I spent most of Thursday on the phone with scientists, talking to them about the huge iceberg off Antarctica and what
To better understand the ice in Antarctica, imagine a cocktail glass with ice and liquid in it. What happens to the level of the drink as the ice melts?
“When my ice melts, the cocktail doesn’t overflow,” said Rignot, the glaciologist. The surface stays about level.
This type of ice — the floating-in-water kind — is what broke off into the ocean this week in Antarctica. Scientists call it an “ice shelf.” As opposed to glaciers or ice sheets, which are found on land, floating ice shelves don’t raise global sea levels appreciably when they break off into the ocean and melt.
Again, think of the cocktail glass.
But — and this is important “but” — those floating ice shelves often have a “buttressing effect” on inland ice masses that will raise global sea levels if they melt, said Trenberth, the climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. As that fringe of ice goes, it can help to start destabilizing the middle.
So while scientists are right to say the Larsen C iceberg won’t change global sea levels in a literal and immediate sense, the big picture may be less rosy and simplistic.
“Floating ice doesn’t change sea level at all,” Trenberth said, “but the consequences of this may well end up increasing sea level quite substantially in the long term.”
Already, global sea levels are up about 8 centimeters since 1992, largely because of global warming, he said. And they’re rising at a rate of 3.4 millimeters per year.
Well, there you have it. Fuck us very much for destroying the planet. We’ve spent generations raping and pillaging this land, dumping shit into the ocean and spilling toxic gas into the atmosphere and now mother nature is coming for us. Sounds about right and I’m just as responsible for it as the next guy.
Where I live, we have to separate garbage into 36 different boxes and containers, and it sucks. Sometimes I’ll put recycling in the trash and bury it underneath garbage, and I dont feel sorry. I leave my car running for 30 mins in the morning in the winter without hesitation. I may have no issue with littering from time to time as well. But it an iceberg breaking off the size of fucking Delaware isn’t a wake-up call, we’re all doomed.
Last year I bought battery operated lawn shit (Mower, Weed Whacker, Leaf blower) but I didn’t buy it to save the planet. I’m lazy and hate cords and have no desire to go to the gas station at the end of my street with a jerry can for $3 worth of gas. However, the story I tell is way different.
Neighbor: “Did you hear about that Iceberg that’s going to kill mankind?”
Me: “Yup. I’m a big climate guy, and that’s why I bought all this battery powered electric lawn shit.”
Neighbor: “Thank God, Dean. You’re a great global citizen.”
Me: “That’s the goal pal. Save our planet. Big time.”
Be kind to mother nature. She’s starting to get angry.