Friday, March 03, 2006

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Global warming strikes again! And, look out! It might cause the sea level to rise 4mm this year.

The new Antarctic measurements, using data from two NASA satellites called the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), found that the amount of water pouring annually from the ice sheet into the ocean -- equivalent to the amount of water the United States uses in three months -- is causing global sea level to rise by 0.4 millimeters a year. The continent holds 90 percent of the world's ice, and the disappearance of even its smaller West Antarctic ice sheet could raise worldwide sea levels by an estimated 20 feet.

Holy Smokes! At that pace, how can we survive! 4mm is about .157 inches, so to get to 240 inches (20 feet) would take over 1520 years at that pace. I don't know about you but that scares the crap out of me since I'll be dead for about 1450 years of that. In my lifetime and at this pace, the oceans will add about 8 inches. Sweet.

UPDATE @ 2:15pm: HAHA! I can't believe it! It was 0.4mm, not 4mm. HAHAHA! 0.4 mm is .0157 inches which will take 15,286 years. Damn! So by the time I die the ocean's still won't have risen an inch!!!

[...] Richard Alley, a Pennsylvania State University glaciologist who has studied the Antarctic ice sheet but was not involved in the new research, said more research is needed to determine if the shrinkage is a long-term trend, because the new report is based on just three years of data. "One person's trend is another person's fluctuation," he said.

Good God, I hope the shrinkage isn't longterm! I thought the shrinkage urban myth would only occur during a ice age on a short, baliding, middle aged, Jewish guy named George. Or right after you get out of a pool.

[...] Velicogna acknowledged that it is hard to predict how fast the ice sheet will melt in the future but said, "I don't expect it's going to stop in the next couple of years."

Scientists have been debating whether the Antarctic ice sheet is expanding or shrinking overall, because the center of the sheet tends to gain mass through snowfall whereas the coastal regions are more vulnerable to melting.

Aahhh! More variables. This is getting complicated.

Just to be on the safe side, mark your calendars for about 750 years from now. The oceans will have risen 10 feet and that ought to result in some righteous surf conditions...