Paths To Knowledge (dot Science)

What is actually real in Objective Reality? How do you know? Now, prove it's real!

How could we melt enough ice for a 20ft rise in sea levels?

Posted by pwl on February 22, 2009

In a comment on Climate realism from biologist and polar researcher Bernard Stonehouse I posted some comments which I’ll reproduce here. They were in response to someone complaining about the phrase “…accumulated cold…” with the comment “Ha ha. There is no such thing! Cold is simply the lack of heat”; now I’m not sure what the author of the article meant exactly about that but that lead me to wonder the following (re-edited into article form).

“When ice melts, it absorbs as much heat energy (the heat of fusion) as it would take to heat an equivalent mass of water by 80 °C, while its temperature remains a constant 0 °C.” – wikipedia on ice

WOW! That’s a serious amount of energy required and a big speed bump to the common simplistic misconception that “when the temperature rises above freezing, ice melts”.

“When you heat a material, you are adding kinetic energy to its molecules and usually raising its temperature. The only exception is when the material reaches its melting or boiling points. At those two temperatures, the heat energy goes into changing the state of the material. After the state has changed, the temperature will rise again with added heat. The rate temperature changes is the specific heat of the material. The amount of heat required to melt the material is called the latent heat of melting.” – Ron Kurtus

It takes a lot of energy to melt ice. Melting the antarctic will take a huge amount of energy.

I was going to add that someone might want to calculate how much energy it would take to melt the ice caps… and then found that a number of people have done this for us.

Will the Ice Caps Melt? (pdf) (html) by Jerome J. Schmitt.

“There is considerable debate over whether the “greenhouse gas” effect will raise the temperature of the atmosphere by between 1−5°C over the next 100 years. But even if you grant for the sake of argument the Warmist claim that the earth’s atmosphere will go up a full five degrees Centigrade in temperature, Al Gore’s claim that ocean levels will rise 20 feet thanks to global warming seems to ignore the laws of thermodynamics. I am no climatologist, but I do know about physics.”

“Heat needed to raise the temp of the atmosphere 5° C: ~2.5 x 10^19 kJ”

“Heat necessary to melt ice to achieve 20−foot sea−level rise: ~2 x 10^30 kJ”

“There is a difference of over ten orders of magnitude between these two figures (10^10 = 10 billion). Even if I am wrong by an order of magnitude or more, there is still an enormous difference. This does NOT mean that ice caps have not melted in the distant past nor that ice−age glaciers have not grown to cover much of the northern hemisphere; it simply means that the time scales involved to move sufficient quantities of heat to effect such melting or freezing occur over what we scientists commonly call “geological” time scales, i.e. hundreds of thousands and millions of years.”

“Even if sufficient heat is trapped in the atmosphere to raise it the maximum value predicted by anthropogenic “global warming” [AWG] alarmists (5°C) over the next 100 years, hundreds of millions or billions of times more heat energy must be imparted into the ice−caps to melt sufficient ice to raise sea−levels the catastrophic levels prophesied by Al Gore. I humbly submit that this might constitute a flaw in his equations.”

The full article (linked to above) is worth reading JMR as well as for others fearful of Al Gore’s disaster scenarios. “The Day After Tomorrow” was a good movie as was “The Core”, but we’re dealing with objective reality, not fantasies such as Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” work of art [of persuasion] and fantasy passed off as accurate science.

Education in real science is an antidote to false fears brought on by soothsayers peddling doom.

At least you can conduct the experiments in your own HOME (of all places) to verify that the linked to calculations are correct or not. Get your ice cubes thermometers out and give it a try! Gotta love experiments that can be done at home!

Now how can we test the notions of CO2 used in the AWG models at home to prove or falsify the claims? Anyone?

I also found this interesting observation.

“Temperatures have a difficulty warming significantly on days when there is surface snow cover. The melting and evaporation from the snow continuously cools the air.” – Jeff Haby, Meteorologist

His article on Latent Heat is very interesting and relevant as well.

I’m learning a lot by looking into things people say. While the “climate science” seems to have few actual experiments that can be done to prove the wild doomsayers soothsaying there are some simple experiments and understandings that clearly are basic science that can be verified and PROVEN over and over by just about anyone. The energy of ice melting is one of these that is directly related to the real or imagined threat of AWG – especially if false or mostly false AWG, can be a massive danger as humans begin to intentionally and consciously terraform the Earth without knowing the consequences. Well if we mess it up there’s always Mars, ah, oh, strike Mars off the list, wait another planet, oh, no place else other than Earth. Precious Earth.

Could we melt the antarctic and arctic poles if we wanted to and how?

Nukes of course! They are the practical answer to every mega engineering problem.

Wikipedia informs us that approximately 2,100,000 TJ (2.1 * 10^6 terajoules) of energy has been released by all the nukes ever tested by humans.

Converting terajoules to kilojoules is done by multiplying by 10^9, that’s then ~2.1 x 10^15 kJ of energy from all nukes detonated on, above or in the Earth/Ocean.

This would suggest that ~10,000 times (19-15 = 10^4 = approximately four orders of magnitude) as much energy as all the nuke test detonations ever exploded would be needed to raise the temp of the atmosphere by 5 degrees (per the calculations above). It looks like we could do that intentionally if we needed to since we have the nukes or could build them.

But that is just raising the temperature of the atmosphere by the dreaded IPPC soothsaid amounts.

What about the full ice melt? Could we melt all the ice on Earth, well at least as much to raise the ocean levels by the Gorey doomsday scenario of ~20 feet, with nukes?

We’d need to generate about 10,000 billion times or 10 Trillion times as much energy than all the nukes ever detonated on Earth to do that job!

Can we really build enough nukes to generate that? Is there even enough fissile material on Earth? Is there enough material to make the fusion bombs that would be part of that energy? I seriously wonder.

Anyone care to improve the accuracy, correct, verify or refute these numbers, calculations, or assumptions and carry the computation further?

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2 Responses to “How could we melt enough ice for a 20ft rise in sea levels?”

  1. bat exclusion…

    How could we melt enough ice for a 20ft rise in sea levels? « Paths To Knowledge (dot NET)…

  2. […] “Nukes of course! They are the practical answer to every mega engineering problem. Wikipedia informs us that approximately 2,100,000 TJ (2.1 * 10^6 terajoules) of energy has been released by all the nukes ever tested by humans. Converting terajoules to kilojoules is done by multiplying by 10^9, that’s then ~2.1 x 10^15 kJ of energy from all nukes detonated on, above or in the Earth/Ocean.” How could we melt enough ice for a 20ft rise in sea levels. […]

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