World's Ice Caps are Melting!

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by duendy, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. valich Registered Senior Member

    The more you read about glacier retreating the more astounding, fascinating, yet alarming the results show and get!

    "Taking the two reported years 2002/2003 together, the mean mass balance was -965 mm per year. This value is more than three times the average of 1980-1999 ( -289 mm per year) and by far the most negative value reported so far for two year averages. The proportion of glaciers with positive balances was 13% in 2001/2002 and 10% in 2002/2003. This is roughly one-third the average observed during the two decades 1980-1999 (32%). During this period 15% of the mean specific annual net values were positive. Since then all annual mean values have been negative. The melt and rate loss in glacier thickness has been extraordinary. This development further confirms the accelerating trend in worldwide glacier disappearance, which has become more and more obvious during the last two decades.
    "Glacier Mass Monitoring Bulletin," by the World Glacier Monitoring Service, 2005, p.87.

    Ocean Levels Rising: Earth's ocean levels have risen twice as fast in the past 150 years, signaling the impact of human activity on temperatures worldwide. Sea levels were rising by about 1 millimeter every year about 200 years ago and as far back as 5,000 years, but since then levels have risen by about 2 millimeters a year. Human induced carbon dioxide emissions are having a clear impact on this warming period.
    Source: Dr. Kenneth Miller, Science, November 2005

    Global Warming: Using three large samples of polar cap ice found carbon dioxide levels were stable until 200 years ago. Today's rise is about 200 times faster than any rise recorded in the samples....Trapped gas bubbles in the ice, drilled out from Antarctica depths of about 3,000 meters, provided information on the Earth's air up to 650,000 years ago... measured levels of carbon dioxide as well as methane and nitrous oxide - two other gases known to affect the atmosphere's protective ozone layer.
    "The European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica," by Thomas Stocker, Science, Nov. 2005.

    Snows Fails to Fall in Arctic Tundra:
    "In recent years, snows have failed to fall as normal across large parts of the barren land dotted with low birch and pines. Evidence that humans are pushing up global temperatures is growing ever stronger, ranging from a shrinking of ice in the Arctic to a warming of the Indian Ocean. In September, polar ice contracted to its smallest size in at least a century, according to measurements by space agency NASA and the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center.

    Reindeer are especially vulnerable when winter snows do not fall. Snow is cold for people but for reindeer it is a soft winter bed. Lack of snow makes it hard for reindeer to feed on lichen because the plants can get covered by sharp ice, which cuts their soft muzzles.

    Less bone-chilling winters have helped some pests to thrive, like beetles and worms that destroy Arctic forests. In northern Russia, frogs have been spotted more often on the tundra and some birds are not even bothering to migrate.
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  3. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Readers of this thread, who want to make a change for the better, may want to look at new thread in the Science & Citizen forum's "Fuel Choices, Global Warming & Pollution"
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  5. Edufer Tired warrior Registered Senior Member

    Hi, Skin Walker, a refreshing burst of air, at last. It is good to start a talk with someone who knows about science. I share with you my deep interest in anthropology (founder member of the Anthropological Society of Córdoba, Argentina in 1982 and having lead exploration expeditions to the Amazon jungle between 1971 and 1995). Just a glimpse of our work there: we have advanced the hypothesis that the Jivaro people in Ecuador (Untsuri Shuara) have their origin in Okinawa Island, Japan. Interested?

    So our interest in climatology is in a lower level of professional activity. (Excellent website you have!).

    I agree with you on many things you said, and disagree in part with other things. My view as well as other more expert scientists view, is that glaciers are not very good indicators of air temperature. But this must also be taken with a pinch of salt, as there are other factors governing the issue as size (total mass, length, width, height of the front), altitude, location (maritime, mountain, polar, etc), prevailing winds, etc. Most glaciers are affected by dynamical stress rather than temperature, although opinions here are divided. As we can see very clearly, in no scientific field there has ever been a consensus on anything. This is shown very clearly in small mountain glaciers, especially on glaciers where the snow has not yet been packed and transformed into solid ice. Our mid Andes (north of 40ºS and below 15ºS) is a good example.

    Some months ago, during a discussion I had with a glaciologist friend of mine, he sent me this message that I am glad to share with sciforum readers (bolds are mine):

    “A simple analysis of the time series (1925-1999) of the fractions (%) of the Italian Alpine glaciers monitored by the Italian Glaciological Committee under growing or melting phase, appears to underline the role of inertia in the response of Alpine glaciers to decadal or multidecadal climate fluctuations.

    The time series indicates that: until 1960 the fraction of melting glaciers was above 80%; between 1960 and 1980 the number of growing glaciers increased up to almost 90%; after 1980 the number of melting glaciers increased again up to 95%.

    The comparison of these periods with the major periods of temperature anomalies in the Northern Hemisphere (relatively warmer between 1915 and 1942; relatively colder - and dryer in the Alpine region – between 1943 and 1976; warmer again since 1976) suggests that the inertia of the Alpine glaciers to these multidecadal anomalies of hemispheric temperature could be of about 10-15 years.

    These indications may also suggest that although the known differences between the dynamics of Arctic and Alpine ice, inertia could be an explanation of the actually observed melting of Arctic ice, besides Arctic temperatures are indexed as lowering.

    I presented some graphs taken from a study, but my guess is nobody bothered to read the full study (in several web pages) about Patagonian glaciers (some of them shrinking, the small ones, and other growing, the big ones) that support the hypothesis that the glacier’s mass and thermal inertia is the governing factor behind glacier change.

    I also would suggest you to read an article at the Argentinean Foundation for a Scientific Ecology ( about a false claim made by Greenpeace on the Upsala glacier that, according to them, was shrinking because global warming was melting it faster than butter pack on a fry pan. In that article you will see

    Quotes from a paper published in a Japanese website, dedicated to the study of glaciers:

    Thinning and retreating of Glaciar Upsala, and an estimate of annual ablation changes in southern Patagonia
    (R. Naruse, P. Skvarca and Y. Takeuchi)

    Glaciar Upsala, a fresh-water calving glacier in southern Patagonia, has been retreating since 1978, and after a drastic recession of about 700 m/a in 1994 the retreat seems to have stopped in 1995. A large ice-thinning rate of 11 m/a was obtained between 1990 and 1993, by surveying surface elevations near the terminus of Glaciar Upsala. In 1993-1994, the thinning was estimated at about 20 m/a near the lateral margin. Some possible causes of the thinning behavior are considered. In the ablation area of Glaciar Perito Moreno, 50 km south of Glaciar Upsala, ablation rates were measured during 110 d in summer 1993-94, and air temperature was continuously recorded throughout 1994.

    Using a degree-day method with temperature data at the nearest meteorological station, Calafate, annual ablation during the last 30 years was estimated to fluctuate from about 12 +- 2 m/a to 16 +- 2 m/a in ice thickness, with a mean of 14 +- 2 m/a. Thus, the temperature anomaly alone cannot elucidate the thinning of 11 m/a at Glaciar Upsala.

    As a possible mechanism of the ice-thinning, it is suggested that the considerable retreat due to calving may have resulted in reduction of longitudinal compressive stress exerted from bedrock rises and islands near the glacier front, causing a considerable decrease in the emergence flow. Thus, the ice may have thinned at a rate close to the annual ablation rate.

    (Annals of Glaciology, Vol. 24, 1997)

    In other paper published in the same webiste, (Dynamic features of glaciers in Patagonia, by R. Naruse), its is repeated that temperature (global or regional warming) it is not the causal factor for the retreat of the Upsala glacier between 1978 y 1994, but there are more notorious causes as:

    Mechanisms of large shrinkage of Glaciar Upsala were discussed. Based on measured ablation rates with temperature data at Calafate, annual ablation thickness near the front of Glaciar Upsala was estimated to fluctuate from 14 m/a to 18 m/a (1962-94). The range (4 m/a) of year-to-year variations in annual ablation is much smaller than the mean thinning rate of 11 m/a. Thus, temperature change alone could not elucidate the ice thinning phenomenon. Measurements of water depth were made in 1994 and 1997 at the proglacial lake, and a large bump of about 250 m high was found on the bed near the glacier terminus. From a continuity analysis, it was revealed that the normal stresses from the bump and islands near the terminus play an important role to the dynamics of Glaciar Upsala. A possible mechanism may be such a feedback as: frontal retreat - reduction in longitudinal compressive stress - decrease in emergence flow - ice thinning - frontal retreat.

    (2nd International Symposium on Arctic and Antarctic Issues; Punta Arenas, Chile; November 1998)

    Again, there is no consensus on the subject if global warming is affecting glaciers, and if it is doing so, at which extent. Satellite survey on glaciers have been shown to render tricky results, as there is difficult to differentiate glacial ice from snow cover, and much snow melting has been taken as ice melting, thus glacier retreat.

    It is, of course a highly debatable issue, but it should be debated looking at serious data as you presented –not through press releases or magazine articles (especially those from Science, Nature, The New Scientists, or Scientific American –when they deal with climatology or atmospheric sciences.)
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  7. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    Quite easy to get you worked up, isn't it. Gotta love that staid scientific objectivity.

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    The fact is, if the condition of the majority of the worlds glaciers, in terms of advance/retreat/stasis is unknown, then it is misleading to say that they are advancing or retreating. Period. It was your presumptive, absolute statement, (poorly articulated, depsite your extensive use of visual aids) promoting one of these views, to which I objected.

    I have not studied the data in detail, so I do not know the truth of the matter. Therefore, please do not classify me as part of the Green Chorus, based upon the evidence you have seen so far. My interest in posting was to attack the clumsy manner in which you communicated your point of view - I accept your word that it was not intellectually dishonest: that only leaves sloppy writing as an option.

    I would be interested in studying your views over a longer time frame and determining whether you have arrived at that them
    a) By reactionary preferences
    b) Through political inclination
    c) Actually studying the facts

    some moron
  8. Edufer Tired warrior Registered Senior Member

    a) According to Newton’s Laws, to every action correspond a reaction of the same intensity and opposite direction. But I’ve seen that the term “reactionary” is used exclusively by the left intelligentsia to characterize what they call “fascists” or right wing.

    b) if there is an absurd (and most of the times criminal) activity, that is politics. I considered myself detached of such categories as left or right, or even center. That kind of two dimensional thinking forgets there are three elemental physical dimensions, that includes the ABOVE position –or the BOTTOM. I have been attracted from my childhood by the sweet smell of anarchism because its inherent loathe of anything related with imposed Authority , as opposed to voluntarily accepted authority.

    c) Most likely this is the explanation for my running across every flawed or unscientific statement or claim that I read. It is embedded in Spaniard’s (and their descendents) blood and genes: we despise authority (to be honest, other people’s authority, not ours

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    ), and love to stand against anything we feel is wrong, biased, flawed, or dishonest.

    After many years (25) of dealing with the climate variability (former “climate change”, former “global warming”, etc) I have come to realize that the present hype on Arctic melting (the subject of this topic that developed into glaciers), and everything related to the catastrophic predictions about global warming is based on assumptions called “GCM” or General Circulation Models, or computerized climate simulations.

    And of course, there must be a reason for the hoax, and that reason has 2 well identified faces: Money and Power, and others not fully acknowledged by the general public: Geopolitics conductive to neocolonialist policies driven and based on Malthusian philosophies, racism, eugenics, and noogen neurosis. (Viktor Frankl, remember?)

    Is there a conspiracy? Not necessarily. Just a general agreement that going along and dancing at the music played by a band onboard of the “greenhouse industry bandwagon”, money will pour from the sky in the form of government research money (grants, subsidies, etc). Scientists have discovered that if they want money (they must feed their children) they must first scare the public and then those ignorant politicians.

    And as politicians believe that science and scientists can provide answers to all their questions on public policies and perceived risk and threats, if they have been scared enough by scaremongers, politicians will provide funding, laws, and regulations that are the heaven of bureaucrats, and delight of crooked scientists.

    A friend of mine, a well known and respected scientist once wrote to me telling about what he felt about the greenhouse hoax, and the part about computer modeling (the foundation of the Global Warming Hoax) that gives a real picture of the issue:

    “Adding to the confusion are the computer models. These are basically great big computer games, called simulations. Each game, and there are many, starts with a version of the earth's climate system. This may include the atmosphere, clouds, oceans, polar icecaps, sun, forests, and humans, each represented in a myriad of different ways. Each model of climate is like a fortress within which an endless series of scenarios can be played out.”

    ”Given a basic game, one can try different factors to see what happens. People use these climate games to try to figure out why the temperature has gone up and down, and up again, and what it might do in the future. Extreme scenarios are often used, to try to make the effect of a given factor stand out. For example, in the last 150 years the CO2 level has increased by just about 30% but modelers look at future increases of 300% or more, ten times reality.”

    ”Unfortunately the results of playing these climate computer games with extreme scenarios are often reported as facts about the earth and our future climate. The reality is that, as with any computer game, a great deal is possible that is not realistic. This is especially true given that we really do not understand why the climate is behaving as it is. We do not know why the earth has warmed and cooled, so we cannot predict the future. We do not know which game to believe.”

    So it goes, people is being scared by the media -- an excellent accomplice that look for scandals, higher TV ratings, increased newspapers and magazine sales -- and everybody is kept in an “alienated” state of mind (alienate comes from Alien, (foreign, strange), in turn from “the other”, “the outside”.

    It means that people is alert to external stimuli, as animals always are when they are awake. In such condition, man has not the ability to reflect, to reason, to think deep, to analyze problems and information because he’s distracted by the neurosis he’s has been injected by scaremongers. Then, as animals, neurotic people don’t think or reason; they only react instinctively to what they perceive as a danger or a menace. He’s then an easy prey of scaremongers. Scaremongers scare people for they money; people oblige. That is, by the way, the history of Human Tragedy since the Beginning of Times.
  9. valich Registered Senior Member

    No one is "getting scared by the media." I read the facts as presented in scientific journals and clearly see that there is cause for concern to avoid a trajedy. History is filled with such errors of people not heeding the warnings and then suffering the consequences (Hitler and WWII?, the Space Shuttle disaster, 9/11, the recent outbreak of the Avian Flu?).
  10. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    Edufer, hoax is an emotive word. You are simply pushing an agenda under the guise of being objective. I find that objectionable.
  11. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    Hey Edufer! A while ago I typed your name into google. TO your credit you dont hide who you are, so I found a page in which you said you took DDT since it had anti-cancer properties. But I cant find any more information on said properties other than the one small study you linked to. Seeing as several distant acquianatnces have died this year od cancer, I was wondering if you still take DDT and have any more up to date information on its possible anti-cancer uses.
  12. duendy Registered Senior Member

    Confucious, he say: careful when taking pill that stops head falling off, you dont lose your legs!
  13. URI IMU Registered Senior Member

    >> the catastrophic predictions about global warming is based on assumptions called “GCM” or General Circulation Models, or computerized climate simulations. >>

    GIGA, who programs the computers ?

    >> we really do not understand why the climate is behaving as it is >>

    Yes so true... Co2 is a negligible ingredient

    Water vapour is the driver of the atmosphere.... and when its level recedes due to a liquid water/oil interface all over the Earth's surface,,,,, this something the Earth has never seen before... it is very hard to predict the future here, other than a general drying, and ice melting......

    Ultimately if the oil layer is thick enough and stays long enough, desert conditions must prevail.
  14. valich Registered Senior Member

    I don't understand what you refer to as the water/oil interface. Are you talking ground level? Certainly not covering the entire Earth and oceans?

    The Kyoto Protocol states that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases (methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, and chlorofluorocarbons) are causing the earth's atmosphere to heat up:

    "The major natural greenhouse gases are water vapor, which causes about 36-70% of the greenhouse effect on Earth; carbon dioxide, which causes between 9-26%; and ozone, which causes between 3-7%."

    Percent increases since 1750:
    Carbon dioxide: 31%
    Methane: 150%
    Nitrous oxide: 16%

    "In 1996, in a paper in Nature entitled "A search for human influences on the thermal structure of the atmosphere", Benjamin D. Santer et al. wrote: "The observed spatial patterns of temperature change in the free atmosphere from 1963 to 1987 are similar to those predicted by state-of-the-art climate models incorporating various combinations of changes in carbon dioxide, anthropogenic sulphate aerosol and stratospheric ozone concentrations. The degree of pattern similarity between models and observations increases through this period."

    "Modeling climatic effects of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions: unknowns and uncertainties", Soon W et al., 2001, Climate Research 18(3).

    "Environmental effects of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide", Soon W et al., 1999, Climate Research 13(2).

    "Can increasing carbon dioxide cause climate change?" Lindzen RS, 1997, PNAS 94(16).
  15. Edufer Tired warrior Registered Senior Member

    Of course, that's your opinion. Another one in a sea of opinions. And I find objectionable that you object to my opinons.

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    Have a puff and peace be on Earth... :m:
  16. URI IMU Registered Senior Member

    >> I don't understand what you refer to as the water/oil interface.

    FACT from measurement:- There is a molecular layer of petroleum oil in the surface micro-layer which is on the world's oceans, seas and lakes.

    This layer restricts water evaporation.... it acts as a membrane......
    The amount of oil discharged into the sea

    Over 700 million gallons of oil is estimated to be released into the environment per year.


    and so much more

    forget greenhouse gases, they are insignificant.

    BUT oil is money...... BIG money
    so who cares about the whole world ?
  17. Edufer Tired warrior Registered Senior Member

    Hi, Guthrie, sorry for the delay in answering but I was away from a keyboard connected to the web.

    Yes I still take my DDT solution, but have lowered mi intake to one a week (now down to 15 mg). After my malignant prostrate cancer diagnosis and radiotherapy (10 years ago) I started taking 25 mg DDT as suggested by the results of those studies by Charles Silinskas, Allan E. Okey, Wayland Hayes, etc.

    It is difficult to find those studies on the internet because those were papers from the 1960s, when the campaign against DDT was in full motion (Silent Spring, etc) and the magazines didn’t archived them and made them accessible in the web. Only in printed form as reprints of the original articles. I think you must try to get the scientific literature through a Public Library or through the Library of the Congress that has any piece of printed paper published on Earth.

    My prostatic antigen level before the treatment was 10, (danger level is above 5 for a 50 year-old man) and that level went down to 1 after both the treatment and my DDT intake. My last analysis of three months ago shows a 0.8 value, which means there is no sign of cancerous cells (at least on the prostate).

    The studies I mentioned in those articles on our website (”Malaria: The Killer that could have been conquered,” , “The Lies of Rachel Carson,”, with references to studies like:

    1. Wayland J. Hayes, 1956. "Effect of Known Repeated Oral Doses of DDT In Man, Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 162, pp. 890-97.
    2. Edward R. Laws, Jr., et al. Archives of Environmental Health, Vol. 15, pp. 766-75 (1967), and Vol. 23, pp. 181-184 (1971).
    3. Charles Silinskas and Allan E. Okey, 1975. "Inhibition of Leukemia by DDT," Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 55 (Sept.), pp. 653-57.​

    As the article says:

    The workers in the Montrose Chemical Company, which produced DDT, used no gloves or protective clothing of any kind and they were inhaling the DDT dust all day. Dr. Edward R. Laws of the U.S. Public Health Service examined the Montrose workers and found that they had accumulated 38 to 647 parts per million of DDT and its isomers in their fat tissue, but experienced no ill effects. At that time, the level of DDT in the fat tissue of the general population was only 5 or 6 parts per million. Laws stated in a publication of the American Medical Association: "It is noteworthy that (after 10 to 20 years on the job) no cases of cancer developed among these workers, in some 1,300 man-years of exposure, a statistically improbable event." [7]

    As DDT became a highly unpopular substance, and because it was banned in the USA and most countries in the world, research on the beneficial properties of DDT were abandoned for one big reason: there was no one wanting to fund research in that sense. Not even chemical companies wanted DDT back, because DDT was the cheapest insecticide available. They wanted to sell more expensive alternatives and replacements. And that policy is still enforced.

    Only research that tried to prove that DDT and its isomers were carcinogenic got finding, either from the government or from environmental foundations as NRDC, EDF, etc., that had an axe to grind. DDT was an excellent cash provider of those NGOs. Environmental NGOs don’t want DDT back because it would eradicate (or almost) malaria, and malaria is a good way of getting rid of millions of people in the third world –especially now that they are invading rich countries in Europe (and the USA from México and Central and South America).​

    Of course, DDT works after some level is achieved in the fat tissues, levels that seem to provide the chemical to the liver where the action seems to be hidroxylation inhibiting the formation of Aflatoxin B1, the most carcinogenic toxin known to science (not dioxin, that is not carcinogenic).
    The article continues saying:

    “Laws later performed experiments feeding rodents DDT at 10,000 times the proportion ingested by humans and then transplanting malignant tumors directly into their brains. Without the DDT there was 100 percent mortality, but the cancers disappeared from the brains of 22 of the 60 mice that had been on the DDT diets for six months.

    Other scientists reported similar results. Drs. Charles Silinskas and Allan E. Okey found that DDT in the diet inhibited chemically induced mammary cancer and leukemia in rats. They stated that, "If estimates prove accurate that 80-90 percent of all human cancers are caused by chemicals (as many experts suggest) the proposed mechanism for DDT's protective effect in rats may also apply to man." [8]

    Writing in The British Medical Bulletin in 1969, Dr. A.E. McLean, a prominent pathologist, and his coauthors cited the increased induction of enzymes by the liver of animals that have ingested DDT. The acute toxicity of aflatoxin (a powerful carcinogen produced by common molds in grains and other seeds) was greatly enhanced in protein-deficient rats, they wrote, "but the effect was reversed if they had previously eaten moderate amounts of DDT...." The authors concluded: "It appears likely that aflatoxin Bl and perhaps other aflatoxins, which are among the most carcinogenic substances known, are converted to non-toxic metabolites in the liver by the hydroxylation system." [9]”

    Well, that’s enough for today. Global warming, that was the related topic to Arctic ice melting, doesn’t seem to be warming Europe too much this fall. I wonder what are thinking all those people drinking champagne Pomery and having caviar snacks at COP-11 in Montreal.
  18. Edufer Tired warrior Registered Senior Member

    The link is another recitation of the Green Litany. It looks great, it sounds frightful but – the fact is that the oil layer is only found in absolutely calm water, where the surface is like a mirror. Sometimes it can be found in lakes in a calm day, and that property of oils was used (still is) for fighting mosquitoes by dumping kerosene, or gas-oil into ponds and swamps so the oily skin would prevent the mosquito larvae to breath when reaching to the surface for air.

    BTW, oil (as all hydrocarbons) is biodegradable. Oil has been flowing from cracks in the bottom of the seas for millions of years, and has been degraded by biological processes. The alarm about oil in the seas serves as other fund-raising, money-providing alarms and scares.

    Yes, it is not Big Oil the culprit: it is Big Dollar (banks and financial corporations that are behind the Big Business of scaring people with inexistent threats.)

    If oil was preventing evaporation from the seas then there wouldn't be rains, nor floods, or humidity in the air. And, when going out from a good swim at the beach, is your body covered by oil? (Not sun blocking oil bought at the pharmacy).

    The movement of the ocean waters, waves, winds, hurricanes, storms, etc, are constantly mixing the oily layer making the theory a "non-theory." Nowadays, scientists will do anything to take a fast buck from suckers that believe everything they say!
  19. Edufer Tired warrior Registered Senior Member

    The link to ( reveals the writing of famous scaremonger Peter Montague. Rachel org is named after Rachel Carson, whose book Silent Spring was responsible for the banning of DDT and the subsequent death to malaria of more than 82.5 millions persons since 1972 (at a rate of 2,5 million deaths a year x 33 years = 82.500.000). This make Hitler's Holocaust look like children's play.

    Scaremongering will always be followed by the statement at the bottom of the page:

    We would like to continue to provide this service free. You could help by making a tax-deductible contribution(anything you can afford, whether $5.00 or $500.00). Please send your tax- deductible contribution to: Environmental Research Foundation, P.O. Box 160, New Brunswick, NJ 08903-0160. Please do not send credit card information via E-mail. For further information about making tax-deductible contributions to E.R.F. by credit card please use the Donate Now button on the home page of our website --Peter Montague, Editor​

    Yes, yes, for the money is the monkey dancing!
  20. URI IMU Registered Senior Member

    >> the fact is that the oil layer is only found in absolutely calm water, where the surface is like a mirror. >>

    Edufer, I do appreciate your point of view, it is good for someone to counter arguments.

    However the oil on the water is not usually visible. Its presence is detected by sophisticated techniques. First report (AFAIK) of its presence was in 1930 (reported by marine biologists). For water to show a "sheen" to the naked eye, the oil layer has to be quite thick.

    Oil films have strong intra-molecular binding, so even a layer one molecule thick will withstand serious disturbance (such as ocean wave mixing etc).

    In fact the oil layer reduces disturbance, quelling the rage, and allows wind to gain higher speeds.

    Oil on water has many effects.
  21. Edufer Tired warrior Registered Senior Member

    Yes, it is true that oil on water has many effects. And as you say, one of them was used very effectively by sail ships in old times: during stormy weather, when the sea was rough and boarding the ship was difficult because of waves, the traditional way to go was to dump whale oil on the leeward of the ship (the side away from the wind). This seemed to calm down waves for enough time to make possible boarding the ships by small boats.

    Here, the important thing is that the oil film theory claims that the oily film prevents evaporation. That would be only when the surface is very calm, and there is a separation between water and air. But at most other times, the oil does not prevent water from evaporation.

    The ”sheen” on oily surface (that rainbow-like reflection) is due to an optical phenomenon called interference. It happens when there is a microscopic gap between two surfaces. This phenomenon haunted photographers since the early days of printing. I worked for years in photography and it was a problem because those rainbows show on the print, and if you print color then it is worse. It occurs when the air between the shiny side of the negative and the glass that keeps the negative in a flat sandwich is smaller than a few microns. Very difficult to get rid of.

    I suggest you to pay a visit to where there is a nice discussion of water and oil mixtures. The reading is worthwhile.

    Just for a hint of what you can read there:

    “We can observe the consequence of this greater attraction when we put a drop of oil on a clean surface of water. Before hitting the surface, the oil will be in the shape of a spherical droplet. This is because the oil molecules are attracted to one another and a spherical shape minimizes the number of oil molecules that are not surrounded by other molecules. When the oil hits the surface of the water, it spreads out to form a thin layer. This happens because the attractions between the oil and water molecules gained by spreading over the surface is larger than the oil-oil attraction lost in making a large oil surface on top of the water. If a sufficiently small drop of oil is put on the surface, it will spread to form a single molecular layer of oil. By measuring the area produced, one can get a simple estimate for the size of each oil molecule and thus Avogadro's number.”​
  22. URI IMU Registered Senior Member

    Thanks Eudifer

    >> The ”sheen” on oily surface (that rainbow-like reflection) is due to an optical phenomenon called interference. >>>

    yes, it can be used to 'measure' the thickness of a thin film... of either air (between two layers) or in this case an oil film.

    >> It happens when there is a microscopic gap between two surfaces.>>

    only with air... with oil it is the extreme thinness of the surface film that causes the optical interference.

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  23. valich Registered Senior Member

    URI: Why are you posting the above diagram? It only takes up space on the forum and has nothing to do with why "World Ice Caps Are Melting":
    "layer of thickness" vs. "surface concentration"?

    I think it was Milkweed or SkinWalker who pointed out that the majority of glaciers in the world are unimportant for determining or monitoring Global Warming, it is those with the most mass that matter. The retreating of the mass of the glacier is what shows the trend.

    The WGMS monitors the glaciers of the world with the largest mass. This is why their results are so important. These are the best indicators of global warming and glacier retreating. According to their 2005 report, the proportion of glaciers with positive balance was 32% during 1980-1999, 13% in 2001/2002, and now only 10% in 2002/2003. Therefore, 90% have now either become stationary or are retreating. Clearly there is a global warming trend indicated here since 1999, and increasing.

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