Archive for Thursday, December 13, 2007

KU prof: Global warming not sole culprit

Hot spots could be causing ice sheets to melt from below

December 13, 2007


A Kansas University researcher in a presentation to the American Geophysical Union today will show evidence that global warming may not be the only - and perhaps not even be the largest - cause of declining ice sheets on Greenland.

In a presentation at the AGU meeting in San Francisco, researchers from KU's Center for the Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets will show evidence that a weakness in the earth's crust could be causing underground magma to melt the ice above. If that is in fact happening, the water could be melting and carrying away more ice as it flows away from the "hot spot."

"We think it may be a part of greater geothermal activity beneath the entire ice sheet," said Kees van der Veen, a KU researcher and professor in the department of geography.

The CReSIS researchers found the weakness in the crust using data gathered with the center's airborne radar, which has been flying over Greenland, combined with Navy data on the gravitational pull over the ice sheet. Van der Veen and Tim Leftwich, of KU, worked with Ralph von Freese of Ohio State University to analyze the data.

"For the most part, up until recently, the glaciologists ignored the geophysical activity beneath the ice sheets," van der Veen said.

The initial studies revealed the one known hot spot in an area of northeast Greenland that is home to a recently discovered ice flow. The researchers theorize that the ice flow could have been started by the magma - and not human activity. These streams have become more powerful and more prevalent in recent years. They can be responsible for taking ice from the center of the ice sheet more than 400 miles out to sea, where it eventually melts.

"Where the crust is thicker, things are cooler, and where it's thinner, things are warmer," von Freese explained in a press release from Ohio State. "And under a big place like Greenland or Antarctica, natural variations in the crust will make some parts of the ice sheet warmer than others," he said.

Melting ice sheets pose great dangers for humankind. If the ice sheet were to melt completely, entire portions of the American seaboard could wind up under water.

The researchers intend to search the rest of Greenland for more crust variation - and more ice flows - before examining Antarctica for the same conditions.


rtwngr 10 years, 6 months ago

Well I guess the sky isn't falling, eh, Henny Penny?

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 6 months ago

yeah... so, let's just keep spewing billions of tons of crap into our air and burning fuels that we have to kill people to get... yeah... the sky isn't falling so let's just keep the status quo because things are going so swimmingly...


on the other hand... if these guys are right it's not good news at all... not much anyone can do about all that earth's weak crust... magma stuff...

but at least we can keep drivin' our Hummers!

compmd 10 years, 6 months ago

Before you all start pointing fingers, you should remember how to perform a science experiment. This isn't the end of an experiment, no conclusion has been drawn. This is the beginning of an experiment, with only a hypothesis formulated. The researchers have found just one item of interest they have discovered in one location, and now they are looking to find more of that item of interest.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 6 months ago

And even if it turns out that there are geophysical factors involved in melting the Greenland glaciers, it would only mean that there is an additional factor to worry about. Global warming is still a problem, and one we have a chance to do something about, which becomes even more important as we identify problems about which we can do nothing.

dirkleisure 10 years, 6 months ago

Another "ice age" is not evidence against global warming. Global warming is a term used to describe the destabilization of the atmosphere caused the the injection of man made emissions.

It is not to be solely read as "getting hotter." To do so is the equivilent of questioning the lack of feathers on people identified as Jayhawks.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 6 months ago

"I amtired of the bad science and fools logic"

You wouldn't know good science if it bit you in the a**.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 6 months ago

In newspeak, "global warming" refers to any condition that can be used to frighten people.

Mkh 10 years, 6 months ago

This is a fascinating scientific find. The evidence of natural causes to Global Warming are more common than the media and most Americans admit. Frankly I'm tired of the blatant propaganda put out there claiming that the debate is concluded and Co2 is going to end the world. It's just not that simple. We have to look at the increased solar activity that is causing the entire solar system to heat.

Also we have to take in to account the natural reactions of the Ocean. I watched a lecture with a well known ecologist who has studied Global Warming, and he explained that the computer model Gore and others use to show Co2 causes is flawed because it shows Co2 rising temperature instead of temperature rising Co2, which he belives is how nature actually operates. The Oceans have something like 40 times more Co2 than the air and as the Earth naturally heats itself through the organic process it causes massive amounts of Co2 to be released from the Oceans into the air. Therefore the hotter it gets, the more Co2 gets put into the air. This would explain why the Co2 levels were far higher thousands of years ago during the last great heating period.

I'm not a scientist, but it seems to me that the scientific debate is far from being over, despite what the media and politicians would have you believe. Does this mean that adding extensive man made pollutants to the air is good? NO! Of course not, but conservation and stewardship of the environment is important regardless of what is heating the Earth. Even the UN now admits that if greenhouses gases were "solved", the Earth would continue to heat. So why should we give Hillary billions of tax dollars to "stop Global Warming" when we know that the Government can't and won't protect the Environment, let alone stop the Earth from heating?

Jayhawker1 10 years, 6 months ago

Gore needs to give the Prize back...he's a fraud!

RedwoodCoast 10 years, 6 months ago

Looks like Mkh is putting the horse before the cart: I think I'm getting a cold because of my runny nose. How much sense does that make? Yeah, there is CO2 in the oceans, that's how all of that flint in the Flint Hills was formed. But I would bet that if it is true that the oceans release more CO2 when it warms, then the earth, unaltered, had systems to balance that out (forests, grasslands, etc.). Now that we are belching CO2 into the atmosphere and destroying the earth's mechanisms for dealing with it, I wonder how much sense it makes to blame the ocean for rising CO2 levels as a result of this unexplained warming that is occurring.

And Scooterxlch a few posts back needs a science lesson. The coast of Peru and Chile are some of the driest places on the planet--and hottest, too. And right next to the ocean. I'm betting that air is pretty warm. By the way, cloud cover actually traps heat in. That's why it gets so cold there at night. And yes Kansas WAS once underwater, but that was long before the Rocky Mountains uplifted (and a host of other processes). Also, I'm not totally sure, but I don't seem to recall ever reading anything about polar ice at that point in the earth's history. That means that not only was the entire mid-continent at a lower elevation that at present, but sea levels were also much higher.

gogoplata 10 years, 6 months ago

Better start making your preparations for TEOTWAWKI Game over man.

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