Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Mind-boggling": Antarctic ice allegedly declining at a rate equivalent to a human losing one hair every 30 years?

Collapsed Antarctic Ice Shelves Fuel Further Melt
It turns out that, like any bad breakup, it's the lingering effects that follow the big blow-out that can be the most painful.

Shuman and his colleagues on a new study found that when ice shelves take off, the glaciers back on the land that feed the massive floating rafts of ice suffer for years afterward.
From 2001 to 2006, glaciers that were once buttressed by the Larsen A and B ice shelves lost 11.2 billion tons of ice per year, and about 10.2 billion tons per year in the three years following. In total, during the study period, about 14.5 cubic miles (60 cubic kilometers [or 10 cubic km per year]) of glacial ice melted into the ocean.
One glacier, the Crane, experienced elevation loss of 300 feet (90 meters) in the space of just one year. "That's mind-boggling. You just try to imagine what it would have been like had you been standing on the glacier," Shuman said. "It would have almost felt like an elevator going down."
Antarctic ice sheet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Antarctic ice sheet is one of the two polar ice packs of the Earth. It covers about 98% of the Antarctic continent and is the largest single mass of ice on Earth. It covers an area of almost 14 million square km and contains 30 million cubic km of ice.
Ok, so the glaciers in question are allegedly melting at 10 cubic km per year, which is 1/3,000,000 of the Antarctic ice.   That means it would take 30 years to melt 1/100,000 of the Antarctic ice, or 300 cubic km.  So the ice is melting at a rate equivalent to a human losing 1 of his/her 100,000 hairs every 30 years.

Approximately how many hairs are on a human head
Obviously, the number varies from person to person, but in general the answer is that the human head has about 100,000 strands of hair.

1 comment:

don said...

I don't think it's the speed of melting that is mind boggling but as we know the melting itself will cause an acceleration of melting.Almost repetitious is the saying "Faster than we thought"with scientific reference to melting polar and glacial ice.