I had ideas for umpteen blogs. Here is where they all somehow converge and I attempt to do something productive with my sprawling web presence.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
Continued fossil fuel use could melt ice sheets, submerge cities, warm planet
A new study published in Science Advances journal on Friday, Sept. 11 reports that if humans continue to burn up the earth’s fossil fuels, the Antarctic ice sheet could thaw and raise the world’s sea level more than 160 feet over the course of thousands of years. The projected ice melt would submerge major coastal cities around the world as well as much of the Netherlands, Bangladesh and Florida.
The estimated sea level increase mentioned in the study did not include glacial melting from smaller ice sheets such as Greenland’s. Reuters reports Sept. 11 that while the study described worst case scenarios, burning accessible fossil fuels is enough to cause the earth’s oceans to rise.
Further, emissions over the next 60-80 years at the current rate of fossil fuel consumption use could destabilize the ice sheet.
"What we are doing right now might change the face of the Earth for millennia to come," stated lead author Ricarda Winkelmann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. To limit global warming, two-thirds or more of the earth’s fossil fuels would have to remain underground, the United Nation’s climate chief, Christiana Figueres told Reuters.
This news comes in the wake of a constant growth in population which according to the World Population Clock, is growing at the rate of 1.13 percent per year. There is an average population change of 80 million people each year. "If we don't stop dumping our waste carbon dioxide into the sky, land that is now home to more than a billion people will one day be under water," co-author Ken Caldeira, said in a statement.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers reports that the world’s remaining 1.3 trillion barrels of oil will be consumed over the next forty years. “By 2040, production levels may be down to 15 million barrels per day – around 20 percent of what we currently consume. It is likely by then that the world’s population will be twice as large, and more of it industrialised (and therefore oil dependent).”
These statistics do not bode well for the future. The world’s maps could change as sea levels rise, leaving less land for the growing population. “Our study shows that if we don't leave most of the carbon in the ground, we are going to melt most of the ice on this planet,” Carnegie Institution climate scientist Caldeira says.According to the study, once the Antarctic ice sheet starts melting, sea levels could rise more than one foot per decade, resulting in over a hundred feet rise in sea levels over the course of 1,000 years.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com