Wordie Ice Shelf has disappeared

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by kmguru, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. kmguru Staff Member

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    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One Antarctic ice shelf has quickly vanished, another is disappearing and glaciers are melting faster than anyone thought due to climate change, U.S. and British government researchers reported on Friday.

    They said the Wordie Ice Shelf, which had been disintegrating since the 1960s, is gone and the northern part of the Larsen Ice Shelf no longer exists. More than 3,200 square miles (8,300 square km) have broken off from the Larsen shelf since 1986.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUKTRE5326HO20090403

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    Cut and paste to the title messed up....
     
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  3. Sawklwrd Banned Banned

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    "Just because you see pictures of glaciers falling into the ocean doesn't mean anything bad is happening. This is something that happens all the time. It's part of the natural cycle of things. We know from measurements that glaciers have been melting for 200 years at least. So it's certainly long before human activities could have caused it. What we also know, going back 4,000 years, is that the glaciers were actually a lot smaller. They actually grew in the meantime. So it seems to be some sort of cyclical process. They grow and shrink and there's no particular reason for being worried just because they're shrinking at the moment. I'm not saying there's no climate change. Of course there's climate change. Climate change is part of the normal order of things, and we know it was happening before humans came." -- Freeman Dyson, 2007
     
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  5. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    Freeman Dyson is not a climatologist.
     
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  7. kmguru Staff Member

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    Did not he also said that:

    "One of the main causes of warming is the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere resulting from our burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal and natural gas."

    He is talking from both sides of his mouth....
     
  8. John99 Banned Banned

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    if it has been disintegrating since the 60s it makes sense that it will be gone one day.
     
  9. leopold Valued Senior Member

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  10. Xylene Valued Senior Member

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    I heard that the glaciers coming down from the high country of the Antarctic Peninsula were travelling about eight times faster than previously because the offshore ice-sheves were no longer there to slow down their advance.
     
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    That is shaky reasoning, not "certain" at all. Humans have been adding significant greenhouse gases to the atmosphere for longer than 200 years, and the current shrinking need not have the same cause as the earlier shrinking.
    Or the interruption of whatever "cyclical process" was making them grow - which is more likely, since so far we have found no "cyclical process" that accounts for the current shrinkage, but several together that account for the earlier growth.

    Dyson is arguing in a fashion he would never accept in his own field.
     
  12. Sawklwrd Banned Banned

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    He's more of one than you are.
     
  13. Sawklwrd Banned Banned

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    Funny. People will occasionally repeat mythology or qualify themselves for political reasons.
     
  14. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Is this the same Dyson that proposed we launch our space ships using nuclear blasts? He actually said there was a safe level of nuclear radiation that the environment could handle.
     
  15. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    What is this, grade school? I've never claimed to be a climatologist, nor have I made any sweeping pronouncements about climate change.

    While Dyson may be an intelligent and well educated man, climatology is not his field of expertise. Citing him is an appeal to authority.
     
  16. Roman Banned Banned

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    So would be citing a climatologist.
     
  17. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, but that would be the correct way, as that would be his field of expertise. Dyson's fame as a physicist, as impressive as it is, doesn't mean his opinions about climate change have any particular merit. But you knew that.
     
  18. Roman Banned Banned

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    Right, but the argument, in either case, is fallacious. Appeals to (false) authority are never conditionally true.
     
  19. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    How would a climatologist be a false authority? In order to distinguish proper from improper use, Fallacy Files has labeled it Appeal to Misleading Authority.

    I'll admit I don't take the opinions of outliers in the field of climatology too seriously either. Since I only understand the rudimentary basics of meteorology and climatology, I have to rely on those who are experts in the field. And unless I have some special insight, I'm going to assume that the majority of the experts in their field have the best grasp on what is actually taking place.
     
  20. Sawklwrd Banned Banned

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    The words speak for themselves. Attacking Dyson as unqualified because he's a physicist is an ad hominem fallacy. The words would be just as true if the tooth fairy said it.

    Are you saying that there was no such thing as climate change until Faraday invented the electric motor?

    Are you saying that no glacier on Earth ever melted until Faraday invented the electic motor?

    Let's see, the Earth is over 4.6 billion years old, and humans have been adding CO2 so plants can breathe for only 200 years.

    So that's > 4,600,000,000 years of methane release, methanogenic archaea etc, and only 200 years of human CO2 which plants love.

    Hmmm, it seems climate change is a political euphamism for wealth redistribution because no scientist on Earth is stupid enough to think anthropogenic CO2 has any influence on climate.

    Global warming was invented by Carl Sagan as an ad hoc hypothesis to explain away the scientific facts that Venus is hot, has a cometary tail, and is young.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2009
  21. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    And the opinion would carry just as much weight if your dentist said it. But you wouldn't bother quoting your dentist, as no one would pay any attention, since he is a dentist, and not a climatologist.

    No one says that the climate has not changed in history. And the simple fact that it is changing now isn't really the issue. The ever increasing evidence that it is being caused (or accelerated) by our dumping tons of CO2 into the atmosphere is. And as I've said before in these threads, if humans are causing it, and the net effect is negative, that's good news. If we are causing it, we can do something about it. If it is being caused by something we have no control over, how is that good news? But that seems to be the underlying message of the contrarians (no longer denialists, because after years of denying that it was happening, the evidence grew too great, so the switch was made to "It's natural, can't do anything to stop it, shouldn't bother to try").

    "No scientist on Earth is stupid enough to believe that anthropogenic CO2 release has any influence on climate"?

    You're beyond help. I might as well be debating a young Earth creationist.
     
  22. Sawklwrd Banned Banned

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    Why would you debate with someone you agree with?
     
  23. kmguru Staff Member

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    Interesting stuff...

    http://www.edge.org/documents/archive/edge219.html#dysonf

    http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/features/fex12752.htm

    We're running out of fossil fuels. When oil spiked at $147 a barrel last summer, the interesting question seemed to be whether we had enough left for the next 40 years or the next 100. But some people believe we will never run out. An essay Dyson wrote about scientific heresy tipped me off to Thomas Gold, an Austrian scientist who taught at Cornell and died in 2004. Gold argued that oil and gas weren't fossil fuels derived from decomposed vegetable mater but were, rather, the products of geological reactions that take place deep underground and leak upward. One experiment conducted by chemists at the Carnegie Institute supports this idea. The scientists found that methane, which is natural gas, could be produced by the interaction of geological elements known to exist miles below the surface of the earth by replicating the pressure and temperature where they're found. As Dyson writes, "The Carnegie Institute experiment shows that there is at least a possibility that Tommy Gold was right and the natural gas reservoirs are fed from deep below." In other words, we might not be running out of gas.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2215339/
     

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