Re: Life Duty Death & Denial

John DeLaughter (
18 Sep 1995 19:23:31 GMT

"Marty G. Price" <mprice@Ra.MsState.Edu> writes:
>On 18 Sep 1995, John DeLaughter wrote:
>> The most likely result of Erubus erupting would be a sea-level rise. When
>> Erebus goes, it will release an awful lot of heat, which will allow the
>> Antarctic ice cap to melt on the bottom, which will help it flow off of
>> land and into the water - poof! Instant sea-level jump. (NOT good!)
>> And, as monitoring of the emmissions from Pinatubo has shown, volcanic
>> CO2 does not exert a long range (>5 yr) influence on climate.
>Layman's question, don't be surprised if I sound a trace off the wall:
>Would/could an Antarctic ice cap melt (as you described or from global
>warming) cause an ice age---i.e., ice cap flows onto sea, lowers ocean
>temperature, causing abrupt global cooling?

That is what geology types classify as "A darn good question"! 8-)
The addition of the ice to the oceans should not *directly* affect the
temperature of the oceans too much; remember that the Anarctic ice cap
has a total mass of about 1% of the oceans. (Imagine one ice cube in
a *big* glass of water.) However, since the sea level would rise by
about 60 m (~200 ft), there would be created many large shallow water
regions. These might then trap the sunlight, increasing the oceans
temperature, and warming things up. Offsetting this would be the increased
primary productivity, which would decrease the amount of CO2 in the
atmosphere, which should lower temperatures a bit. A further complication
is the reduction in the terrestrial sinks for CO2. My first guess would
be a net slight increase in temperature, on the order of .5 C - but I
could be wildly wrong.

If you're interested in the technical parts of this discussion, may I
suggest the _Biogeochemistry and Global Change_ series, published
by Chapman and Hall, London, as a starting place?

>Curious, but I don't want to dump the Antarctic ice cap into the ocean to
>find out.

That makes two of us! 8-)

John DeLaughter