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Melting Glaciers To Drown Us (At 2 Inches A Century!)

April 8, 2019

By Paul Homewood






Melting glaciers causing sea levels to rise at ever greater rates

Melting  ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic as well as ice melt from glaciers all over the world are causing sea levels to rise. Glaciers alone have lost more than 9 trillion tons of ice since 1961, raising water levels by 27 millimeters, an international research team under the lead of the University of Zurich has now found.

Glaciers have lost more than 9 trillion tons (that is 9,625,000,000,000 tons) of ice between 1961 and 2016, which has resulted in global sea levels rising by 27 millimeters in this period. The largest contributors were in Alaska, followed by the melting ice fields in Patagonia and glaciers in the Arctic regions. Glaciers in the European Alps, the Caucasus and New Zealand were also subject to significant ice loss; however, due to their relatively small glacierized areas, they played only a minor role when it comes to the rising global sea levels.



Wow!! 27mm between 1961 and 2016!

Two inches a century. Head to the hills!

  1. Graeme No.3 permalink
    April 8, 2019 11:01 pm

    Wow! It (almost) rivals the rise in the level of the Black Sea around 8,000 years ago.
    Scientists are arguing whether that rise was 80 or 90 metres, or only 30 metres. The neolithic
    ancestors experienced a rise of up to 500 mm PER HOUR.

    • April 9, 2019 3:18 am

      Want to be clear this comment. Ryan etal 1997 argued that 125 meters flood occurred with a breach of a barrier and that this flood can be argued to have occurred in less than 1 year. (For the Black sea)

      Meaning a minumum of a 15mm/hr (not 500) unless you argue for a specific flooding scenario. I don’t believe they did.

      A really cool flood occurred in the NW of the USA, in the Channeled Scablands. Bretz first hypothosized it back in 1920’s, a flood of biblical proportions. He was beat down but never defeated, then in 1940’s Pardee came along and said: Yep, the water came from a hugh lake blocked by an ice dam and then was a flood that left “waves” of land banks, scoured 1000 foot cliffs, devasted an area measured in the land area of western states.

      It only took 50 years to overturn the consensus.

      • John F. Hultquist permalink
        April 9, 2019 3:44 am

        Thanks Timo,
        Here’s more and a link:
        Bretz looked at the landscape and saw a flood of catastrophic proportions. The established geologists of the time were educated to believe in “Uniformitarianism” in contrast to “Catastrophism”, so the concept went against the established truth, or religion.

        Bretz outlived his tormentors, and saw his hypothesis accepted.

        For the record, there was more than one flood and more than one source of water.
        Ice Age Floods Institute:

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      April 9, 2019 10:42 am

      Sorry, that was supposed to be per DAY.
      One thing is certain, no-one wanted to buy sea side property.

  2. dearieme permalink
    April 8, 2019 11:04 pm

    I’ve just been reading a history where the author remarks that in the 2nd century AD the sea level in the Solway Firth was nearly 5 metres higher than today. Consequently there was at Netherby – on the Esk, near Carlisle – a river port, used by the Roman fleet that policed the upper Solway.

    Can he have got his facts right?

    • April 9, 2019 10:30 am

      5m sounds high. But Caerlaverock Castle nr Dumfries used to have sea access, but is well above sea level

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        April 9, 2019 3:51 pm

        The raised beaches in Scotland indicate that isostatic rebound was at a greater rate than the sealevel rise after the last iceage. I think that there is evidence of raised beaches from the previous interglacial. The rebound in Scotland must have been in the ordrr of 130 metres. I’ve never read anything about whether thebland was inundated and then reappeared again or whether it kept ahead of the rising sea.

  3. Joe Public permalink
    April 8, 2019 11:11 pm

    Time to buy a houseboat, methinks.

  4. April 8, 2019 11:41 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  5. Broadlands permalink
    April 9, 2019 12:34 am

    Wow? Another scare, but again with no attempt to document or explain what could possibly be done to prevent it. We cannot capture and store enough CO2 to even return to the melting ice in 2015… about 78 billion tons would be needed. Never mind all that ice in the 1920s and 30s before CO2 was the problem. When will these climate alarmists realize there is no realistic solution that involves lowering atmospheric CO2 by negative emission technologies, or planting lots of new trees? The children are protesting the inaction, and in need of the answer. What is it? Hello?

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      April 9, 2019 3:54 am

      “What is it? Hello?”

      Gaia can melt ice and make snow. This can be done in a hurry, as She sees fit.
      Mid-April Blizzard to Clobber the Upper Midwest
      up to 30 inches of snow

      Often these things are over predicted, but they don’t want to be wrong on the low side.

  6. bobn permalink
    April 9, 2019 1:26 am

    Note they end their figures in 2016. Is that because those glaciers have been increasing since 2016? The greenland glaciers are increasing (see tony heller’s ‘deplorable climate science’ blog. the antarctic glaciers are growing – so much so that the iceshelf is about to snap off. The 2 largest New zealand glaciers (fox and franz Josef) are also increasing again.
    Oh my, whoever thought that climate waxs and wanes in cycles!!!! Oh my, how did the Thames valley get carved? Oh, by a glacier! That’s retreated – for now – but will be back!

  7. Joe permalink
    April 9, 2019 3:48 am

    That’s good to know. About the loss of ice that is. But how much was gained?

  8. Ian Wilson permalink
    April 9, 2019 8:22 am

    Wasn’t there a news item last week about a major Greenland glacier growing again?

    • April 9, 2019 6:10 pm

      Here ya go: Polar PortalSeason Report 2018

      You’ll find Fig 5 of interest:

      From the report:

      The change from 2016-2017 to 2017-2018 in the net area of the 47 monitored glaciers shows an increase of +4.1 km2, which makes 2018 the only year with a positive balance. This is followed by the 2006-2007 season (-19.8 km2). This latest loss of area is thereby 113.8 km2 less than the average loss for the 19 seasons from 1999-2000 to 2017-2018, which was -109.7 km2. Of the monitored glaciers, 21 retreated and 12 grew in size. In the remaining 14 glaciers the changes in area were within ±0.2 km2.

    • April 11, 2019 1:24 pm

      In 2017 there was much ado about an Alaskan glacier changing the direction of the river it feeds. Media talked about water “piracy” and blamed global warming/climate change. The story has a kernel of truth but the science of glaciers is complicated, having little to do with CO2. It was an education for me to dig into the science and the post is here for anyone interested in glacier background and context.

      • April 11, 2019 6:02 pm

        Good gosh. It’s as if they don’t believe in the natural process anymore; that nature does things.

        The great Missoula floods come to mind.

  9. A C Osborn permalink
    April 9, 2019 9:23 am

    There has been multiple “Climate Scare stories” in the Daily Mail every day this week.
    This morning the BBC News Channel had a Female Scientist talking about Ice melting in Antarctica.
    The only place in Anarctica where Ice can “melt” due to air temperatures is around the coast, the rest of it is below zero down to -50C.
    They are getting ever more desperate.

    • Peter Plail permalink
      April 9, 2019 11:18 am

      I would be interested to see the results of their geodetic satellite survey in 1961 which would be necessary for an apples-with-apples assessment of glacier changes.
      My understanding is that these techniques only started to be used in the ’90s (wrt glaciers) so the baseline measurements must originated from physical records of glacier movement, and I am guessing not every glacier in the world had that level of attention. Thus I suspect a lot of modelling is going on here, and we should also expect the error bars to be set pretty wide.

    • Peter Plail permalink
      April 9, 2019 11:27 am

      Sorry A C, the original was supposed to be a general comment, not a reply to you.
      However I was planning to add to your comment the fact that Attenborough has a new work of fiction starting on the BBC this week, I think, described by BBC as an “urgent” new documentary about climate change. So I think that may explain the press activity.

  10. Athelstan. permalink
    April 9, 2019 10:09 am

    “Glaciers have lost more than 9 trillion tons (that is 9,625,000,000,000 tons) of ice between 1961 and 2016”

    sure glaciers melt – that’s a natural process and glaciers/ice sheets are in constant flux. What I’d like to see their assessment of how much ice has accreted in said period, ain’t it – it’s the stuff that they don’t tell you.

  11. April 9, 2019 12:50 pm

    Let’s put this in perspective. The Outer Banks along North Carolina, South Carolina, etc. are barrier islands which form along coastal areas. They are, therefore, subject to where the ocean actually is at a given time.

    During the height of glaciation the most water is tied up in ice sheets more than a mile in depth. Therefore the oceans are lowered. Conversely, during the height of the inter-glacial period when the glaciers are melted and water returned to the oceans, they rise. I will add that you also have to take the isostatic rebound as the crust readjusts to the weight of ice being removed. Of course it was changed by the weight of ice being added. As the rebound occurs, there are dips and slants in the crust and it is not like a flat sheet rising. This also accounts for uneven ocean “rises” in given areas.

    The barrier islands along the North Carolina shore have been as much as 40 miles east during the height of glaciation when the ocean was some 400 feet lower. The fall-line (ancient ocean shore) is near Raleigh, North Carolina (nearly half way across the state) denoting the height of an ancient inter-glacial period.

    You, across the pond, have Doggerland which once connected Great Britain to the rest of Europe. About the same time the Outer Banks formed, it disappeared.

  12. April 9, 2019 12:57 pm

    Their figures are interesting.

    Back of the envelope calculations:

    9,625,000,000,000 tonnes of ice = 8,855,000,000,000
    tonnes of water (Ice density = 0.92) = 8,855,000,000,000

    Surface area of oceans = 361,132,000,000,000 m2

    Sea level rise = 0.0245 m = 24.5 mm

    Another thought – have they accounted for sublimation (“a largely unquantified component of glacier mass loss worldwide” ?

    Reported rates of sublimation vary from 12% to 23% of annual precipitation with a mean of 19%, I have not tracked down sublimation rates for bare ice.

    If snow has a density of 0.1 and glacier ice is 0.92 then glacier ice is compressed to 11% of the initial snow depth, this suggests that a minimum of 2% of the glacier ice mass loss is due to sublimation. This reduces sea level rise over the period to 24mm and it probably has a greater effect.

    • April 12, 2019 9:20 am

      Apologies for logic error – back of the wrong envelope.

      9,625,000,000,000 tonnes of ice = 9,625,000,000,000 m3 of water

      Surface area of oceans = 361,132,000,000,000 m2

      Sea level rise = 0.02665 m = 26.65 mm

      = 0.476 mm year = 47.59mm/century.

      Close enough to 27mm for government work – although still not allowing for sublimation.

  13. Gerry, England permalink
    April 9, 2019 1:43 pm

    What a schoolboy error I made when I moved house. I was on top of the North Downs at a safe 600ft but am now down at just 164ft – I’m gonna drown!!!

  14. Eddie P permalink
    April 9, 2019 2:36 pm

    Just a small point to remember – melting sea ice will not raise sea levels. If you need proof place an ice cube in a glass and then fill it to the brim with water. The ice will melt but the water will not overflow.

    • April 9, 2019 2:48 pm

      This would also be true of the majority of land ice loss from calving ice shelves (Antarctic, Greenland, Canadian/Russian Arctic) where the floating land ice is already displacing around 90% of its volume.

      • April 12, 2019 9:22 am

        Hopefully correct calculations this time – effect of ice loss including ice shelf displacement oh sea level.

        % Ice Shelf Seal Level Rise (mm)
        100 0.002826901
        90 0.035336258
        80 0.205443363
        70 0.778194557
        60 2.185939766
        50 4.879329834
        40 9.03579599
        30 14.29714555
        20 19.74743861
        10 24.20029241
        0 26.65230442

  15. Ben Vorlich permalink
    April 9, 2019 3:35 pm

    I thought I read last week that one or two of Greenland’s biggest glaciers had advanced in the last couple of years surprising the desk jockey climate scientists who model and predict this sort of thing

  16. Bruce of Newcastle permalink
    April 10, 2019 12:25 am

    Does that mean the Dutch will have to raise their dikes by 2 inches?
    I wonder why the Dutch have dikes?
    Do they have a purpose?
    What are they for?

    They must be incredibly expensive and hard to construct if a 21st Century society will a vast array of heavy equipment couldn’t build one 2 inches high in 100 years.

  17. 2hmp permalink
    April 13, 2019 3:17 pm

    Surely 27mm in 55 years is 1/2 inch per century.

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