The Weekend Wonk: Dr. Mauri Pelto on Antarctic Melt Part 2

May 18, 2014


16 Responses to “The Weekend Wonk: Dr. Mauri Pelto on Antarctic Melt Part 2”

  1. redskylite Says:

    “Once they’ve begun they cannot be stopped” – a very modest, mild, measured and careful man talking about passing a “tipping point”. Time to ditch/ignore denial and mitigate, and support a political party that aligns with the seriousness of it all. We can’t stop it but we can still deal with it.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      How do we “deal with” an unstoppable situation? Tipping points are tipping points, and more are looming on the near horizon. How many more must we pass before anyone pays attention? Just askin’

    • Time to aim for a zero-carbon energy system, with enough surplus energy to support carbon sequestration for atmospheric remediation.

      The mining of olivine for enhanced weathering has been proposed as a way to remove carbon from the atmosphere.  If this works, I have no complaints.  Off-peak electricity from any carbon-free source could operate the mining and crushing machinery.

      The ultimate weathering reaction of olivine, removing intermediates, is

      Mg2SiO4 + 2CO2 -> 2 MgCO3 + 2 SiO2

      The silica intermediate can dissolve as silicic acid, Si(OH)4.  If reacted to make sodium metasilicate (Na2SiO3), it may have uses in geoengineering.  For instance, if the zone beneath these retreating glaciers was filled with a dense solution of sodium silicate, the flow of ocean water beneath the ice would be retarded or stopped.  This would slow or stop the melting of the ice from below, causing the ice sheets to extend and thicken.

      Once the silica escaped to the environment, it would spur the growth of diatoms.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        I am winning so much $$$ from betting against E-Pot as he continues to double down on silliness that I will soon be making my first purchases of Berkshire Hathaway stock and joining him in the ranks of the dissolute plutocracv that has nothing better to do than “look things up” and send out as evidence of their imagined intellectual superiority (even though they don’t understand the science).

        Now he is linking us to an 80+ year-old crackpot scientist (Schuilding) in the Netherlands and The Olivine Foundation, which seems to exist only as a means of attracting $$$ to said nutty professor. I wonder if Schuilding is also involved with the Smartroads initiative over there?

        Of course, E-Pot may just be joking with us, because he can’t be serious about “filling the zone beneath the retreating glaciers with sodium silicate” etc., and the final bit about “spurring diatom growth” is a brilliant punch line if he is joking.
        BAAAAAAAAAAAAD science, E-Pot.

        E-Pot either IS joking or is suffering from some sort of psychotic break. Perhaps he is bipolar? That would explain his periodic displays of delusional “science” and egomaniacal narcissism.

        PS If anyone wants a real laugh, google Schuilding’s piece about mineral waters. He thinks any “village” that is concerned about CO2 should make a huge pile of powdered olivine “in an attractive place” and dribble water down through it (and bubble CO2 up through it).

      • redskylite Says:

        “Time to aim for a zero-carbon energy system, with enough surplus energy to support carbon sequestration for atmospheric remediation.”

        I agree with the poet, that is exactly what we need to do. It will be expensive and people vote in governments to give a healthy economy, but what use is that if our cities are under water.

        The only geo-engineering scheme that excites me is atmospheric CO2 scrubbing with a base (like amine). But first we need to limit emissions.

  2. Can someone remind me what the potential sea level rise from these two glaciers accelerated melting will be, for say the next 100 years?

    Is anybody talking about the sea level rise becoming an accelerating factor – that it will float more of the remaining glaciers, so that more of them become unpinned, and they melt more and more quickly as sea level rises?

    • redskylite Says:

      “The evolution of this sector will contribute to push sea level toward the upper part of IPCC projection for 2100 (90cm) and even beyond (more like 120cm)” warns Professor Rignot.

      Melting of Antarctic ice sheet and 3-meter sea level rise inevitable – study

    • redskylite Says:

      This new paper indicates ice melt acceleration from satellite inspection

      “We use 3 years of Cryosat-2 radar altimeter data to develop the first comprehensive assessment of Antarctic ice sheet elevation change. This new dataset provides near-continuous (96%) coverage of the entire continent, extending to within 215 kilometres of the South Pole and leading to a fivefold increase in the sampling of coastal regions where the vast majority of all ice losses occur. Between 2010 and 2013, West Antarctica, East Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula changed in mass by −134 ± 27, −3 ± 36, and −23 ± 18 Gt yr−1 respectively. In West Antarctica, signals of imbalance are present in areas that were poorly surveyed by past missions, contributing additional losses that bring altimeter observations closer to estimates based on other geodetic techniques. However, the average rate of ice thinning in West Antarctica has also continued to rise, and mass losses from this sector are now 31% greater than over the period 2005–2011.”

    • rayduray Says:

      Re: “Can someone remind me what the potential sea level rise from these two glaciers ”

      Nope. Can’t do that. But I did review the literature and I find Dr. James Hansen’s informed guess of 5 meters (16 feet) of sea level rise by 2100 to be a more credible estimate after the recent news about Antarctica and Greenland.

      Quote: “(T)he scientist who is arguably the most visible and authoritative climate scientist in the world, Dr. James Hansen of NASA, stated (Hansen, 2007) “I find it almost inconceivable that business-as-usual climate change would not yield a sea level change of the order of meters on the century timescale” (IPCC business-as-usual (BAU) scenarios assume that emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases will continue to increase year after year). Hansen gives a hypothetical but potentially realistic scenario where the sea level rise due to ice sheet disintegration doubles every decade, leading to a 5 meter (16 foot) sea level increase over the next century. He notes that during the period 2 – 3 million years ago, CO2 levels were similar to today (350 – 450 ppm), and global temperatures were 2 – 3°C warmer, similar to what we expect by the end of the century. Yet, this Plio-Pleistocene world was “a dramatically different planet, without Arctic sea ice in the warm seasons and with a sea level 10 m higher.”

  3. Does anyone know if the recent science on melting glaciers in Antartica and the predicted resulting rise in sea levels is ADDITIONAL to the sea level rise that the IPCC has predicted or is it already included in the IPCC’s latest report?

  4. […] 2014/05/18: PSinclair: The Weekend Wonk: Dr. Mauri Pelto on Antarctic Melt Part 2 […]

  5. […] 2014/05/18: PSinclair: The Weekend Wonk: Dr. Mauri Pelto on Antarctic Melt Part 2 […]

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