Melting ice (of all types)

benj benj at connexus.net.au
Sun Dec 1 22:07:30 MST 2002


Jose wrote:
> Didn't see anything much on the really big ones, Greenland and Antartica, or
> much from Canada or Alaska or Russia.

Ben comments:
The four biggest icecaps are the north pole, Antarctica,
Greenland and Patagonia. (The Himalayas might make a fifth but I
don't remember if there is an actual large icecap there or just a
series of glaciers & peaks)

Although Jose (and Archimedes) has convincingly explained how the
north pole icecap melting will not affect sea levels, it will
affect sea temperatures. I've read news articles claiming that
widespread melting of icecaps, although a result of general
warming, could alter ocean temperatures and currents so that, for
example, the gulf stream warm current would cease and northern
Europe (eg Britain) would end up with a climate similar to
Siberia.

I don't know how reliable that prognosis is but I think it
generally gives an idea of what's on the cards if global warming
continues.

Violent weather is another aspect. Storms, tornadoes, floods,
heatwaves, etc. This occurs because as the atmosphere and oceans
warm, air and sea currents speed up. It's like the agitation in a
pot of water as you bring it to the boil; the hotter it gets, the
faster the agitation.

Re cars as a form of transport: I think that in the dialectic
between the individual and society, socialism will definitely
have to alter the balance compared with capitalism. For people
who live in the bush (bush=Aussie term for the countryside) some
sort of cars, tractors etc are usually indispensable. My father,
a die-hard cyclist and fairly anti-car for many years, has now
got a small car, a ute (I think that's a "pickup" in US lingo)
and a tractor since he moved to a small farm about 30-40km from
the nearest town and shops. On the other hand from my place in
Melbourne I can walk to the train, bus, and tram. There's a
supermarket across the road, I can walk to uni, and work is a 1
hour train trip away. Obviously many in newer and outer suburbs
or working away from public transport aren't in such a good
situation but to base cities around cars is silly and there's no
reason we can't increase public transport vastly, while perhaps
retaining cars etc (in a community rental pool perhaps?) for
those occasions when they are needed to go for a trip, move
house, make deliveries, etc etc etc

Ben Courtice

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