Antarctic Ice Sheet Has Collapsed Before, and Looks Likely to Collapse Again

By Eliza Strickland | March 19, 2009 9:10 am

West Antarctic ice sheetA massive chunk of the Antarctic ice sheet seems destined to melt away due to global warming, raising sea levels dramatically. But the good news is, the process will take thousands of years. Those are the conclusions reached by two studies of the West Antarctic ice sheet, which can be considered the planet’s Achilles’ heel. It holds a vast amount of water, locked up as ice, and it’s sitting below sea level, so it’s inherently unstable [NPR]. 

By studying sediment samples from millions of years ago, researchers determined that the ice shelf has collapsed many times in the past, when warmer climate phases boosted ocean temperatures. With that historical data, another set of researchers simulated past and future changes to the West Antarctic ice sheet, and found that it could indeed begin to collapse sometime in the next century or so if nearby ocean temperatures increase roughly 5°C–a possibility if current warming trends continue. If that warming occurs, the sheet could totally collapse in a few thousand years but contribute to sea-level rise much sooner [ScienceNOW Daily News].

In the study of core samples, published in Nature, the research team examined a pristine drill core from sediment below the sea bottom near the ice. In the part of the core that dates back from about 5 million to 3 million years ago, when temperatures and greenhouse gas levels were somewhat higher than they are today, the group found evidence of multiple, 40,000-year cycles of melting and refreezing [ScienceNOW Daily News]. The drastic changes are triggered when warmer ocean waters melt the floating ice shelves around the edges of West Antarctica. These floating ice shelves act like buttresses to keep the much larger ice sheet pinned back. And whenever the shelves melt away, the ice behind them flows into the sea and sea levels rise [NPR]. 

While the modeling study, also published in Nature, may present a long timeline for the collapse of the ice sheet and the resulting deluge of coastal lands around the globe, study coauthor Ross Powell says the results don’t lessen the urgent need to confront global warming. “Even if it might take a thousand years or more for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to disappear, the melting before then could be significant enough that humans should really be taking note … as we worry about our future generations,” Powell said…. Today, even a partial melt-off raising sea levels by 4 feet would put at risk an estimated half a billion people who live along shorelines [Chicago Tribune]. 

Related Content:
DISCOVER: The Ground Zero of Climate Change is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet
80beats: A Rising Tide Swamps All Coasts: New Estimates of Sea Level Rise Spell Global Trouble
80beats: Antarctic Ice Melt Would Shift Earth’s Axis, Further Changing Sea Level
80beats: Antarctica Is Definitely Feeling the Heat From Global Warming

Image: David Pollard and Robert DeConto. “Yr BP” denotes years before present.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment
  • larrydalooza

    You mean… in your fairy tale mind… if the globe was warming… this may happen. Now put away the assumption and there is no story to tell.

  • amphiox

    The globe is warming. Of that there is no doubt whatsoever.

  • Brian M

    Actually I saw a recent report indicating the planet has been cooling for the last 3 years or so. So, yes, the warming “trend” is in doubt. Probably just a cyclical thing. But even if it is warming, it’s not like we can actually do anything about it. And, yes, I know that last part is going to have everyone screaming all at once at my ignorance. But it’s a fact and can be easily proven deductively.

  • FILTHpig

    Of course, dozens (hundreds?) of scientists are totally wrong about global warming and some guy sitting in front of his computer somehow knows it all…typical.

  • Brian M

    FILTHpig – Typical that you judge without bothering to examine the facts. There are many scientists who cast doubt on the “global warming” theory. There are also many scientists who have come out and revealed that they will not get funding UNLESS they are setting out to prove global warming. In other words, as in many other things, political agendas drive funding. Now, as to why I know global warming has nothing to do with humanity… very simple really. SPend a little time on your own computer. Try a little thing called Google. Look up the total amount of green house gases being added to the atmosphere vs. the amount added by ALL human activity. It’ll take a little time because 99% or so whine about how IT’S THE END OF LIFE AS WE KNOW IT. But if you persevere you’ll find that the total human contribution is variously estimated at between 5% and .28%. So, a little simple math for FILTHpig, between 95% and 99.72% of greenhouse gases are from NATURAL sources, not manmade ones. With odds like that you can knock humnity back to the stoneage and have absolutely no effect on global warming.

  • FILTHpig

    I’m sure all scientists will now quit their jobs and direct all inquiries to Google to solve the worlds problems. Thanks Brian!

  • http://www.neuromesh.net Neuromesh

    Brian – your science is flawed. For one, you are looking at too small a scale with the three year cooling – measured over 100 years, the earth is on an overall warming trend with cyclical variations.

    The only real question is whether the warming is caused by humans or more natural fluctuation, but proving something by deduction is for philosophers and sherlock holmes. Scientists need to demonstrate or disprove something empirically, otherwise it’s merely idle speculation.

  • p

    to you doing the math to prove nothing is wrong…fill a class 99.99% full of water, that is natural greenhouse gas, now add .02% more, that is what we are contributing…guess what disaster the glass just over flowed all over you nice counter. we are adding the tipping point material…global warming is a misnomer, it should be climate change and we are changing the climate…to all the nay sayers go buy beach property? your grandchildren will thank you, if they can swim

  • Brian M

    P Says — talk about flawed reasoning…All the climate change alarmists are speaking of cumulative damage. By your reasoning all we have to do is reduce our greenhouse emissions by .02% and everything will be fine. Obviously incorrect.
    Neuromesh — proving something by deduction is done all the time in “scientific” studies. Any empirical study uses that technique. Look at lots of data and “deduce” a conclusion. No scientist will ever prove global warming by demonstration, for example, all of it is statistical. And statistical data indicates human activity has no demonstrable impact on global warming.

  • matt

    I agree 100% with Brian M…

    First off, we can categorically exclude any argument from FILTHpig… after all, what kind of a moron calls himself FILTHpig? He was probably surfing kiddie porn and happened across this article in his search engine. Anyways FILTHpig, if you dont think that all of the scientists are already using Google in their research, well… that just goes with the territory of you being a moron.

    As far as Neuromesh is concerned, you are right… a 3 year sample in the face of billions of years is too small of a sample to claim any kind of long term trending… but then isn’t a 20 year sample also too small to claim a warming trend? You claim that the data that supports warming has been collected over the last 100 years, but could the data collected 100 years ago by the inexact tools they had to use at the time REALLY be used in conjunction with today’s tools that measure temperature to thousandths of a degree? I would think that if you even got the same reading twice in a row (and by “same” I would even allow a reading within 2 degrees of the previous) with the tools they had back then, you would be very lucky.

    As far as P’s comments are concerned, you have set up your own thought experiment incorrectly… what you should be saying is “if I had a glass 99.9% full of water, which represents everything on earth between terra firma and the stratosphere, and then I add .1% green food coloring to represent man made carbon emissions, the effect of the food coloring on the glass of water is negligible”. After all, the concern is not that we are going to blow up our climate… the concern is that we are introducing foreign contaminates that will effect the whole! lol idiot

    All I have to say is… FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!

    Well, I guess I have one more thing to say… GO BRIAN M!

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/ Eliza Strickland

    Hey Matt — please keep the tone of this debate civil. There’s no need for childish name calling or ad hominem attacks. Besides, they make people take your arguments less seriously.

  • matt

    I dont believe this is really a debate, as the chances of changing an opinion having a position deemed “right” or “wrong”, “won” or “lost” are slim to none. I instead consider this a forum to offer an opinion, which I did, and which I stand behind. My opinion requires a little more passion that the antagonist, as it opinions like mine that are demonized by political correctness.

    But thanks for the suggestion.

  • Jesse

    Ok, let’s completely drop the question of “Will it happen or not”. I have a different way of looking at the problem. Let’s look at it as a chart of potential outcomes. Each outcome is based on our decision vs what the climate actually does, coming to a total of 4 different outcomes.

    Outcome 1: We assume the world climate is changing due to our actions, act accordingly, but it does not change. The end result? Economies are slowed by burdensome environmental policies, hundreds of billions of dollars are lost, deepening our current global recession. Economies eventually recover (as they always seem to do) and no severe lasting damage is done. Out of the deal, we gain a step up on ‘green’ technologies that were invented to help lower carbon output, giving a new economic and energy niche that can be utilized effectively in the future.

    Outcome 2: We assume the world climate is NOT changing due to our actions, and do nothing. We are right, and economies race ahead without the environmental policy burdens. Everyone is happy, good times abound.

    Outcome 3: We assume the world climate is changing due to our actions, and are right. The environmental policies we put in place allow us to mitigate the damage, reducing it dramatically. While there are economic backlashes, the overall damage done by climate change is lessened dramatically, and eventually reversed entirely. Our actions save the world we currently know.

    Outcome 4: We assume the world climate is NOT changing due to our actions, and are wrong. We do nothing, and relax environmental policies, allowing companies to pump as much greenhouse gas as they want. The end result is the collapse of our current ecological and climate model, causing widespread devastation, famine, and disease as fertile farmland in the USA turns into an expanding desert, while costal cities are submerged and eventually destroyed entirely. I’m sure everyone has heard the doomsday scenarios… well they hit, shredding the global economy and throwing us into nearly back to the stone age.

    Now then, let’s analyze the outcomes: When we assume the climate IS changing due to our actions, and we act, BOTH outcomes leave humanity in a livable environment with a stable, if somewhat slowed, world economy. When we assume it is NOT changing due to our actions, we get one ‘good’ outcome and one absolute disaster outcome.

    I personally don’t want to gamble the future of my family on a 50-50 shot. Prevention is worth a pound of cure, we can consider climate conservation an ‘innoculation’ against future disaster.

  • JustDon

    Matt – People listen better when they are no being verbally attacked. If you don’t feel there is any debate going on here then why do you bother wasting your time, when you could be Googling instead?

    Also, do you really want to arrogantly stand for debunking Global Warming? If you and your kind are wrong, what a price to pay. What will you say to your Grandchildren? Shouldn’t you error on the side of leaving the planet as fantastic as it was when you were born?

    And your argument about folloing the money, I will only say this: Exxon, BP, Shell, all the public utility companies, etc… The money is on the OTHER side and has always been there.

  • Owl

    The warming is a known. The Greenhouse Effect is a known. The pollution source is a known – it’s us, it’s our pollution. CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are the key ingredient – it’s up 38% from pre-industrial levels (maybe Brian M doesn’t understand the issue). Methane levels have doubled. The recent cooling was a severe La Nina event, not a ‘cooling trend’. There aren’t just hundreds of anti-AGW scientists, there’s 3700 lobbyists in Washington and an effective network of disinformation making sure little or nothing is done about the problem. If you want to reject AGW, then disprove the Greenhouse Effect. Otherwise it’s in play, and we’re doing it.

  • http://www.thepatriotbyte.blogspot.com/ Mark

    Global Warming is the biggest scam ever brought upon the people of this world. The only thing it will accomplish is taking more freedom away from people. That is the end goal of all this nonsense. Wake up, liberals. You are today’s useful idiots.

  • JustDon

    Mark – nobody is taking away your “freedom.” Even Bush finally admitted to the facts of Global warming. If you spent more time studying the facts and less time practicing to be a ditto head (just let Rush tell you what to think) you might get it and stop insulting people who disagree with you. Like I said, do you really want to err on the side of throw caution to the wind? That isn’t very conservative sounding…

  • matt

    The beauty of the global warming movement is that it is like a perfect weapon that can be used against any business that does not play by the rules of the liberal politician that wields it… it can be used to incite any tax on any business it wants… it can be used to create and control industries… it can be used to destroy others, It can be used to acquire votes through fear tactics and misinformation. Didnt you notice how when the global warming myth was beginning to be stressed, it suddenly became global climate change? This subtle change innoculates the message of the movement from ever having to be tested by the strainer that is time and a comparison of theory and actual experience. The earth warms, it is global climate change. The earth cools, it is global climate change. The earth stays the same, and hey thats unnatural… must be global climate change.

    JustDon asks if the price of being wrong is too great… I say the price of giving up your freedom to live your life as you wish to live it, drive the car you want to drive, have a fireplace or not, choose between gasoline or electric power cars based on your own accord, and the price of destroying functioning industries and replacing them with other less efficient and untested industries, and to instead pay a premium to use the technologies that the politicians and powers that be have a vested interest in… that price is not worth jumping into a cause that we do not fully understand and cannot pursue effectively until we take a breath, step back, and separate truth from propoganda and self serving spin.

    Owl seems to think that the cause of global warming/ climate change/ whatever we need it to be is CO2… wow. Now they will be able to regulate and tax our exhalation? Our animals’ breathing? How much control are you willing to give them?

    Owl, the trick of your argument is that you cannot disprove the greenhouse effect… clearly this effect is valid and proven. But do the things we do that contribute to it have an effect large enough to justify allowing other people to have a religious type of power over you and the world? What about the contribution of sunspots? The sun glare off of the polar ice caps? Natural sea current cycles? The degree of the rotation of the planet? Its distance to the sun?

    Before we begin to fight, let us first define what it is we are fighting. Without that, we will always be at the mercy of those whom we have given supreme authority over ourselves.

  • JustDon

    Hey Matt – Bravo for not resorting to personal attacks, you are obviously not some kind of drone waiting for talking points from the overlord.

    Have you seen “An Inconvenient Truth”? Do you actually read Discover Magazine, National Geographic, Popular Science or any of the dozens of sources of actual science? If you take your cue from the VAST majority of legitimate experts you can draw only one conclusion. Have read about the possibility of run-away warming brought on by northern areas like Alaska releasing huge amounts of methane when they thaw?

    By the way. The reason we refer to it as Climate Change now instead of Global Warming is because the original title was too simple and too easily seized on by simple people: “Wow, it snowed in Vegas – I guess this is Global Warming…” , “I don’t remember it ever getting this cold! So much for Global Warming…” Imbeciles don’t know the difference between weather and climate. It could easily get colder in places and hotter in other places – the planet is REALLY complex. Far too complex for us to arrogantly take for granted. The best term I have heard is “Global Weirding.”

    Freedom is an interesting word to use. With freedom comes responsibility. I am free to drive my car, but not without rules. I am free to vote, but not without rules. It all goes the same where freedom is concerned. Why isn’t the use or abuse of the planet in that category? What could be more important. You write as if you feel oppressed by the political correctness of this issue and frankly, you sound paranoid. Is it really logical that there is a global cabal to take away your Hummer? Or does it make more sense that the profiteers benefiting from the world oil economy are pumping disinformation out into cyberspace and thus the world in order to keep the status quo? I totally get your distaste for outside control, but I think you are aimed 180 degrees off. Follow the money.

    You mention the danger of “jumping into a cause that we do not fully understand.” Is it logical to just pump trillions of tons of CO2 into the only atmosphere we have and hope for the best? Of course not. What if you’re wrong? How stupid would it feel to spend this time in history siding against 99% of the legitimate scientists only to see the advent of a global catastrophe. That is some legacy. Maybe it would be better to drop the dogma and make sure you err on the side of brains, caution and prudence. Contrary to what you are saying, there is no liberal motivation to take away your fun, your freedom, or your rights. Liberalism by definition stands for all those things. Learned people who stay in school and work for a PHD do not share one mind, programmed by academia to take away your freedom. They are individuals, just like everybody else. They think for themselves and put more credence into empirical evidence than dogma. Try it, you’ll like it. Cheers, dude.

  • matt

    Machiavelli in The Art of War talked about how dangerous and distasteful it is to have a state which employs a career military… he says in this situation, a state will never experience peace. This is because in times of peace, the career military men will continuously strive for war; it is what they do. It is their business. It is their art. It is their livelihood. Without it, how would they survive? They do not know how to farm… or to blacksmith… or how to be statesmen…

    Politicians could be put in the same boat. The founders (I believe) envisioned something different. They envisioned a state run by citizens. Thus the inability to become “president forever” or “Congressman forever”.

    If you look at politics today, we have too many career politicians. People that are elected year after year after year… they need these issues to advance and actualize their careers. Politicking is their livelihood… it puts their bread on the table. They have the ability to take an issue like this and twist it, squeeze it, manipulate it… and to advance and actualize their political careers. i.e. Al Gore, who was a failed presidential candidate and probably would have run this year but (in my opinion) was bought off with the Nobel Peace prize to make an unchecked run by Hilary… the only thing she didnt count on was Barrack!

    The scientists that propogate the hysteria can also be put into this dangerous category of misinformers that tap the global warming superstition for their own life blood. They too put food on the table and a roof over their head by propogating the myth.

    Yes I do read MANY of the articles on this site, and I have learned that the earth warms and cools in cycles since it formed regardless of man or animal. Volcano, Asteroid impacts, rotational tilt, the creation of the Himalayas, sun activity yeas, but man and animal no… and we are smack in the middle of that neverending cycle. We should rejoice that this is the case, as it is indicative of and conduscive to a planet that is teeming with life and the ability to support life.

    Have you ever read Animal Farm? Or have you heard the saying “absolute power corrupts absolutely”? There is a certain legitimacy to endeavoring toward a cleaner environment. I get that and I dont dispute that. But their comes a point when the ends have been fulfilled, and the means are no longer necessary (unless you have become a dependent to the means and are vested in the continuation of it). Emissions testing has made a good impact in a cleaner environment. Forcing companies to develop cleaner coal technologies and safer nuclear power was a good thing. Learning to drill more accurately and efficiently for oil has benefited us all. But now our environment is cleaner than it has been in 100 years… cars are running cleaner than ever… nuclear power is safe and we can drill exactly where ther will be oild and impact the environment very little… when will we be done? Will we ever be done?

    Capitalism and free trade WORKS. When the market is right, great advances in science and technology are experienced. Why is it that we continue to burn coal and pump oil instead of the widespread use of windmills and such? It is because at this time, it is more economical and efficient to do things this way. If it were a better idea to thrust the world onto wind or solar power, believe me… some entrepeneur would be all over it. They will make a fortune when the market, the world, and the technologies are ready. The federal government should stay out of it.

    Cheers, but I hope you are not drinking a beer… because the carbonation is being released into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming/ climate change/ weirdness/ thingy

  • JustDon

    Matt – You ARE prolific writer!

    I don’t know how you can claim that animals and man don’t effect the planet. The 21% oxygen levels in our atmosphere are the result of life itself. Without life the planet would be surrounded with high concentrations of CO2 as it was 4 billion years ago. Life is as much a part of this planet as anything. Life has formed this planet.

    Do you really think the planet is clean enough now? Why worry? Looks good from here…

    Worship at the alter of capitalism if you like, but please take care not to sacrifice the future on the alter of market expediency.

    Thanks for ruining my Saturday beer binge :)

  • matt

    I will concede that man does affect the planet to the extent that chaos theory predicts it would… every time we take a step, we alter the course of future events. The very act of breathing in California could be said to affect the weather in New York. But we should not despise our footprint on the earth… we should not feel guilty on our affect on nature, as we are a part of nature ourselves. Our presence and footprint is then “natural”. Our presence brings both good and bad depending upon the judge, but as Aristotle argues, a substance can be neither “good” or “bad”… it just is.

    The very act of observing will change the results… we observe nature, and we see what we expect to see. We try to observe raw nature that has never felt the effect of man, and the very act of man’s observence effects the raw nature we are observing. It is impossible to try to turn back the clock to a time that the earth was “pristine” and “untouched by man”.

    There were bacteria under the ice sheets that had been untouched by man for billions of years… we tried to observe this untainted life, and by doing so we had an effect.

    Our being on the earth will and has undoubtedly proven fatal to many species… but it has also given rise to many others. Many animals have adapted to our presence and live in harmony with us. That is the result of being so intertwined in an ever changing, ever evolving world.

    Every time we have tinkered with and tried to control this natural balance, whether it be life on earth, the environment, the stock market, free trade or any other facet of life on earth, we do and will continue to fail miserably. i.e. the way we had brought the wolf population back from near extinction only to have the wolves decimate the caribou population. The balance of life is like a spinning top in perfect balance due to its rotational gyrations… when we try to control the spin of the top, or touch the spinning top, or if we decide that there is a “perfect” or “more desirable” position along its rotational axis and we attempt to influence the top into that position we deem preferable, it spins violently out of control and stops.

    We should stop punishing ourselves and inventing ways that we have screwed up the world around us.

    And as for the beer, I am only trying to help you reduce your “carbonation” footprint :)

  • JustDon

    Ok, I think we are finally in agreement. Man and his activities DOES affect the Earth (even if you equate this to the Butterfly Effect). You seem to have a very cavalier attitude about our impact, though. I guess if you believe it just doesn’t matter weather (pun intended) we wipe out other species, then I will disagree. I think it matters. I think I want to feel a sense of ease that I came here and avoided wiping out ANY other species. So call me a wimpy liberal.

    I think we agree more than it would appear though. Aristotle may have taught that “a substance can be neither “good” or “bad”… it just is,” but we are men, not substance. We have souls and we have an unprecedented responsibility and opportunity to be the stewards of the planet. If we falter because of petty political ideology, we will be the ones to lose. Earth will go on. Life will go on. We will become a tiny footnote in the story of the planet. Who knows, maybe dolphins or wolves will evolve to be the next over-intelligent stewards. I hope they make better choices than we have. Maybe they will evolve and reach the stars when the hairless apes before them simply failed to recognize the importance of the responsibility.

    I am switching to scotch :)

  • Rob

    Just a thought, an opinion I might add. If plants absorb CO2, couldn’t we simply shoot a bunch of chlorophyll into the atmosphere and call it a day? Sure it would cost billions of dollars but hell, who’s complaining with Obama’s $800 something billion dollar stimulus plan? The thing is that not only is the environment screwed up so is our economy and society itself. MIndless bickering won’t get anyone, anywhere. Do we ACTUALLY know the rates of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? Unless we ourselves are scientists and we ourselves conduct our own research, what we have is a load of rubbish. How can we ACTUALLY tell if the polar ice caps are melting as fast as these articles tell us? We can’t. We should leave all the actual ‘conservation’ to the government and live our own lives, not colluding to the whims of the authorities. There, if anyone has a counter-argument, let’s discuss it without having to insult each other.

    Have a nice day!

    P.S. You should know I’m 14. I PROBABLY don’t know what I’m talking about but hell give me a chance anyway!

  • JustDon

    I am disappointed you feel our bickering is mindless, yet hopeful that you are 14 and are reading Discover Magazine’s website. Good for you, Rob

  • walt vdk

    It’s worthwhile to note that some of the pseudoscientists who worked for Big Tobacco in the 70s claiming smoking was not harmful, are now working for Big Oil and claiming carbon emissions are not harmful. No matter if the truth comes out eventually, as long as you can make Big $$$ in the interim.

  • matt

    JustDon- Very good!

    My cavalier attitude is a pragmatic overcompensation to counteract an overabundance of misguided passion on the other side of the issue.

    I agree that we should strive to be good stewards of the planet, but no matter how hard we try we will always be at the mercy of the grander plans of mother nature. By our attempt to make mother earth a better place in one respect, we will make it a worse place in another. By our attempt to save one species, we will doom another. By our attempt to clean up the environment and move to a different source of power, we be moving down an even more dangerous path for reasons we are not even aware of yet. But I think that we will agree that our conscience drives us to do SOMETHING.

    But it is this urge to do SOMETHING that gets us into trouble. It leads us to make rash decisions. I think we still do not fully understand how all of the pieces fit together. What if someday we find out that it is the sun’s effect on the earth that fluctates by .000001% and gives us our warming and cooling cycles… should we somehow attempt to control those fluctuations so that the earth will remain within a constant that we have arrogantly deemed to be “ideal”?

    You mention how if humans fail, it may be the dolphins or the wolves that evolve… would you arrogantly deny them the opportunity? :)

    But to get back to global warming, you ask “what if you’re wrong?”

    Politicians know how to manipulate this guilt over our footprint in the world and our drive to do “something”. They have created an issue that is like the scam the rain makers had, or the snake oil salesman. If a man told you that as long as you continue to give him 1/2 your pacheck every week it will continue to rain a few times a month, and you continue to pay him and it continues to rain, by your logic you would always superstitiously pay him because, well… “what if you’re wrong?”

    I think we need to understand this issue further before we make the rash decisions that are ahead of us… right now, we are only hearing the rain maker’s version.

    And by the way, I didnt have a beer yesterday, so I will sell you my “beer credit” for $20

  • JustDon

    I agree with you about rash decisions. I am also aware that there is a change now in the attitude of scientists. More and more are talking about manipulating the temperature of the Earth (cooling it) because it is too late to stop the run away greenhouse effect. Now THAT idea scares the puss outa me.

  • matt

    So now that the global warming crowd are starting to push their radicalism to this limit, and now that you no longer agree with their methods, should we tally you in the “anti global warming movement” column?

  • JustDon

    Oh, I get it. Sunday is your drinking day…

    Just to be clear, it doesn’t matter if I am in the anti column or not. Evidence overwhelmingly suggests that we absolutely ARE warming the planet by increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. Nothing would make me happier than for 99% of scientists to be proven wrong. I would like to see the oceans stay where they are and the polar bears to continue to exist.

    Here’s to hoping for your correctitude (a Bushism) :)

  • matt

    We ARE warming the planet by breathing (back to chaos theory)… but the question is whether it is a negligible degree.

    If I add an ounce of food coloring into Lake Michigan, I AM making the lake green… but by how much? And is the effect counter acted by something else along the way?

    If I breath deeply after eating garlic bread, I AM making the air stink like garlic, but by how much? Is it enough to regulate who eats garlic bread and when?

    What we need is strategery!

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

80beats

80beats is DISCOVER's news aggregator, weaving together the choicest tidbits from the best articles covering the day's most compelling topics.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »