Faster Glacier Melting Mechanism Could Cause Huge Sea Level Rises

When it comes to the issue of climate change, naysayers often contend that we have an incomplete understanding of the Earth’s systems. While humanity is yet to uncover all the secrets of the world, that doesn’t mean we can’t act on what we know. In many cases, as climate scientists delve deeper, they find yet more supporting evidence of the potential turmoil to come.

In the stark landscapes of Greenland, a team of intrepid researchers from the University of California, Irvine, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have unearthed a hidden facet of ice-ocean interaction. Their discovery could potentially flip our understanding of sea level rise on its head.

The Tide Is High

Scientists have been studying the Petermann glacier for some time. This photo was taken in 2013 about a year after a large iceberg broke away, pushing the glacier’s front significantly upstream. Credit: NASA, public domain

As we grapple with the accelerating impacts of climate change, one of the greatest looming threats is that of rising sea levels. Melting sea ice is no threat, as it doesn’t cause sea levels to rise. Instead, the real problem is land ice, with the vast ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica acting as colossal water reservoirs.

As our planet heats up, these ice sheets melt into the ocean, causing sea levels to rise. This naturally comes with implications for humans. The greatest threat is to coastal communities, where increased flooding or total inundation could make some areas uninhabitable. There’s also the threat that sea level rises could render some agricultural land unusable due to increased salinity, affecting even those who live inland due to food scarcity.

Predicting the extent of sea level rise is a complex puzzle, with many interconnected mechanisms at play. Researchers have to consider factors such as air temperatures, ocean currents, and the physical characteristics of the ice sheets themselves. But as this new research reveals, there might be more to the story.

A large iceberg was spotted calving away from Petermann Glacier in 2012. Glaciers lose mass by melt, sublimation, and by iceberg calving into the sea. Credit: NASA, public domain

The scientists focused their study on the Petermann Glacier in northwest Greenland. Using satellite radar data, they found that the glacier’s “grounding line” – the point where the glacier detaches from the bedrock and begins to float in the ocean – moves substantially with the tidal cycles. This movement, significantly larger than expected, allows warm seawater to seep far underneath the glacier, accelerating ice melt. Data collected by researchers suggests that the grounding line is more of a “grounding zone” which migrates from 2 to 6 kilometers as the tide goes in and out.

In essence, the researchers discovered that warm seawater carves channels beneath the ice, particularly at the “grounding zone,” leading to increased melt rates. The team observed a dramatic example of this between 2016 and 2022, when the glacier’s grounding line retreated by 4 kilometers. In the process, a 670-foot-tall cavity formed underneath the glacier, carved out by retreating warm water.

This revelation defies the traditional understanding that these grounding lines remain static during tidal cycles and are immune to melt. The implications of these findings could be significant. The team suggests that if these overlooked ice-ocean dynamics were accounted for in models, estimates of future sea level rise could double. This isn’t just limited to Petermann Glacier – the same could apply to any glacier ending in the ocean. This includes glaciers across most of northern Greenland, as well as Antarctica in its entirety.

Warmer water tends to get under glaciers and melt them out from underneath. Now, researchers have discovered that the grounding line where melting occurs may actually move significantly with the tides, which would drastically accelerate sea level rises.

This suggests that the already serious problem of sea level rise may be even more urgent than we thought. We’re already aware that the Greenland ice sheet has lost billions of tons of ice over recent decades, largely due to warming subsurface ocean waters. The interactions between this warm water and the ice speed up glacier movement towards the sea, leading to more rapid ice loss.

As our understanding of the intricacies of climate change continues to grow, the Greenland research is a sobering reminder that some variables might remain hidden beneath the ice, so to speak. It’s a classic case of science in action: our models and predictions are only as good as our understanding of the systems involved. As we continue to investigate the depths of climate change, let this be a reminder that there’s always more to learn and that the quest for knowledge is never over, especially when the stakes are so high.

It would be a beautiful moment to find out that some previously-unknown mechanism meant that we would all be safe from the expected dangers of climate change. Sadly, though, most new research seems to confirm we’re in for a bad time, much of it saying the peril is on a more advanced timetable than previously thought.

115 thoughts on “Faster Glacier Melting Mechanism Could Cause Huge Sea Level Rises

    1. I have been waiting 5 decades for the political and pop-science leaders of the warming enthusiasts to sell their beach estates for pennies on the dollar. So far no luck. Who’d have thought?

      1. Sell? It seems like every month or two I read about another multi-billionaire -buying- an island somewhere. I wonder who/where billionaires get their information from… probably not from internet comment sections, I’d wager.

    2. Dredging up sand from the ocean floor and putting it on beaches has not become prohibitively expensive… Yet. In new jersey, they spend about 50 million a year putting the sand back. The ocean has risen about a foot in the last 50 years, and every year since the 1980s it has risen more than the last.

      Global warming has recently hit the point (in the past 5 years) where it became exponential and irreversible, even assuming that our current technology works. Things are going to start getting dramatically worse. It might even be too late to grow forests of algae and dump them into abandoned mines!

        1. Fresh water falling as rain on land for millennia and piled up. CO2 in the atmosphere is opaque to infrared light so, small increases in CO2 raise the atmospheric temperatures because, the solar heating that used to be lost to space at night is still here. Antartica, the North Pole and Greenland are melting faster every year and they are raising sea levels. There is no conspiracy. It’s observed in the world you live in.

        2. I didn’t expect hackaday to have so many morons, especially since climate change denial is one of the more moronic takes these days.

          When ice ON LAND melts, it flows down into the sea, and the sea level rises.

          The ice on land is proven to be melting.

          Sea level is rising, and each year it rises a little more than the last.

          But because it’s happening slowly, and gradually, people keep on denying it.

      1. Measurable by whom? Not humans.

        Impossible for humans to account for these variables:

        1) Shape of the vessel holding the world’s water is in constant flux
        2) Must remove or account for all sources of water entering the oceans other than the ice chunk
        3) Must stop all internal motion in the oceans which cause water to slosh around
        4) Must have stable reference zero point from which to base measurement
        5) Must have ability to measure at scale.

        The only way to “measure” the ocean’s “height” would be to stop all physical processes of the entire world.

        Reality is too complex for humans to do any of that.

  1. If this is true then why are banks still giving 30 year mortgages on oceanfront property!? If the sea is really gonna swallow up these houses and we have proof of that then all these rich climate activists would be selling their beach front real estate and the banks wouldn’t give loans to people buying ocean front land

    1. Because greed is blind.
      If i was not true, why would banks feed bubbles until they pop ? Because the perspective to make a short-term profit is always more attractive than longer term, less profitable investments.

      1. I asked Bard how banks are reacting:

        Here are some of the specific actions that banks are taking:

        Refusing to offer mortgages on oceanfront property. Some banks have decided to simply stop offering mortgages on oceanfront property altogether. This is the most extreme measure, but it is also the most effective way to mitigate the risk of sea level rise.
        Requiring higher down payments and/or higher interest rates. Other banks are requiring higher down payments and/or higher interest rates for mortgages on oceanfront property. This makes it more difficult for borrowers to qualify for a mortgage, which helps to reduce the risk of default.
        Requiring borrowers to purchase flood insurance. Flood insurance is a government program that helps to protect homeowners from the financial losses caused by flooding. Banks are now requiring borrowers to purchase flood insurance before they can get a mortgage on oceanfront property.

        1. If true they are using very bad advice. Rise in the next 100 years is projected to be 30 to 60cm. Would you refuse a $5 million 30 year mortgage based on this? Note this also assumes that all the anxious intervention will have no effect.

    2. The question there is how long do the banks really need to make it break even at worst, as even if you assume incorrectly that every oceanfront property will be entirely under the ocean in the next week/year/decade if you make a profit out of it before then who cares. And while some coastal properties are already at huge risk, even flooding every few years already and other will be in similar situations relatively soon that is still far from all of them… So even taking a loss on a few where the ‘home owner’ ends up homeless, defaults on the mortgage and the property is now pretty worthless is a winning move – as many of those home owners will try to service that debt (whatever isn’t covered by any insurance) so they don’t tank their credit rating, as they will need another mortgage to have somewhere to live, and many of the others will have paid the bank back long before a bad storm surge breaches the flood defences, wrecks the joint and makes it value tank.

    1. I fail to see how ancient diseases would have a huge impact when you consider humans were exposed to them in the past, developed immunity/immune responses/evolved to deal with them. Consider the Spanish Flu. Consider COVID. Consider ancient diseases that haven’t evolved at the rate humans have, may be very unsuitable for infection today.

      1. Consider Europeans introducing diseases to natives. Any immunity that humans once had ages ago isn’t likely to still be with our immune systems especially if we evolved to get rid of those specific defenses in favor of more recent threats because of some long dormant disease no longer being a threat after a very long time. I’m not saying this situation is a guaranteed major threat, but it’s very much in the realm of possibility.

        1. Next time you open a can of Tuna remember. When permafrost thaws, it creates favorable conditions for microbial activity, including the activity of mercury-methylating bacteria. These bacteria can convert inorganic mercury into methylmercury, which can then be released into the environment, including water bodies. The methylmercury then contaminates aquatic food chain.

      2. You assume that humans were infected by a long buried organism and immunity is passed on in DNA but if only animals, fowl and sea life were infected our DNA wooed not carry any immunity at all. New diseases from ancient carrion is the problem.

  2. A billion more people every decade since the early 60s-THE hottest fuel driving climate change, not to mention what drives up the cost and down the quality and quantity of every basic human necessity.
    A yet that self-serving eco-idiot Musk-Time Magazine’s Man of the Year-cries that the US and other “advanced” nations are in danger of a de-population explosion. This is what passes for “leadership” in the 21st century.

    1. Unfortunately the developed nations are generally at risk of or already suffering from rather dramatic population demographic changes – a pretty substantial decline in young people, so Musk does have a point there. You want to remain a functional society even with tech advances that reduce the required workforce and keep the old timers going longer you do need replacement people. Do not require 1:1 replacements, some population reduction can be managed easily but you can’t manage a massive sustained drop in young folk easily and that is what many of the developed nations are trending towards.

      And while you can argue pulling in replacements from the less developed world where rapidly growing populations or at least massively high birth rate can solve that problem it doesn’t really solve it all the way. You can’t replace a brain surgeon with a monkey, and massive education and cultural differences don’t just go away. Nothing against these people, as people their potential is comparable – but you can’t expect somebody from the 1860’s to manage to function well in the 1960’s, or a city dweller from the highly developed nations to really know how to survive deep in the rainforest like a native would – when you come from a place with different educational standards and needs you naturally won’t know many things that are required.

      There are other geopolitic factors that are worth considering as well, but when it comes down to it they all boil down largely to you don’t crash your car into a wall deliberately to slow down – a more moderated change of pace is required to avoid complications, with a little bit of but my home town must remain better/stronger/bigger than x’s.

      1. >You want to remain a functional society even with tech advances that reduce the required workforce and keep the old timers going longer you do need replacement people.

        Why? I think by “functional society” you mean government has enough taxes to sustain their ponzi scheme. Right now we pay farmers to destroy crops to keep prices (taxes) up, we reduce nuclear plant output to keep prices up, we throw away unsold and returned items to keep prices up. None of this is supporting a “functional society”, it is supporting a tax based ponzi scheme that needs ever more investors. Society will do just fine without although the ruling class might not.

        1. Well that can be part of it, as much as wasteful bonkers government decisions should be purged your existing society is built and reliant on the existing model, it can’t just be ripped out wholesale – The collapse of society as a whole that happens when you try that likely makes your money worthless, your table empty, etc all along with higher likely hood of riot and even civil wars… It is rather less than ideal.

          BUT no I mean quite simply you do need a new person to replace the old ones, that 70 year old sheet metal worker might with modern health care and a real love of their job keep going a few more years, but once they are gone who is validate and design the fold patterns for the big mass production sheet metal stamping systems or make those more bespoke parts. Same thing with your HVAC systems, Sprinkers, road maintenance crew, teacher, doctor etc – lots and lots of little, sometimes hidden, but essential cogs in the machine that is your society and give it the ability to make everything it makes goes away if you don’t have enough young people to take up those roles.

    2. Musk is correct.

      And, it isn’t just Musk. China, for example, is worried about its shrinking population – they are now actively looking at ways to encourage MORE children – after decades of enforcing their one child rule — even with the current high unemployment among their youth. Why? Because an upside-down pyramid cannot support an expanding economy, especially a socialist one. And, a shrinking economy is a dying economy.

      Why do you think the Europeans keep allowing people in from all over the world? It isn’t kindness! Same for the US – why do you think the borders are basically open? It isn’t kindness!

      The Europeans and Americans can choose to commit economic suicide in the short term by locking their borders, or keep the borders open, saving their economies, but committing cultural suicide in the long term. Or, of course, they could do what Musk says – have more children.

      You mention quality and quantity of basic human necessities. The reason why we have so many things and choices is precisely because we have had an expanding population on earth for some time. Being able to tap ever expanding human creativity for new products, and customers to buy them, leads to prosperity in quality and quantity.

      Shrinking the population shrinks the economy, and if that happens, say good-bye to quality and quantity.

      1. A major reason people in europe and the americas have fewer kids is because they can’t afford them. If both potential mother and father are working full time and struggling to make their bills paying for their one bedroom apartment, a kid means both increased bills and probably lower income.
        I’m in engineering. Every single one of my coworkers under 30 says “hell no we’re not having kids we can’t afford to.” It used to cost $200K to raise a kid. Now just college tuition is getting up in the $200K range. My coworkers on engineering salaries have roommates because housing is so expensive. They’re definitely not going to be finding places where they can devote one room per kid when they’re still struggling to make rent with three+ adults working full time living in one habitation.
        And at some point in the not too distant future, that cost of living issue is going to mean immigrants can’t afford to come here unless they join the rising numbers of homeless people, many of whom have full time jobs but on their own can’t even afford an apartment.

        People aren’t really choosing to shrink the economy. The economy is choosing to shrink the number of people, because “the economy” now applies to fewer and fewer people every year, as increasing numbers of people don’t meaningfully participate in it.

        BTW it was my impression that at least some of what’s driving sea level rise is that as you heat up water it expands. Adding large quantities of ice cold water may be a net neutral or slight increase for a while, but then you have the issue that the water level keeps rising even without additional ice melt.

        I think we’re going to see truly massive migration away from coasts over the next 50 years, as cities across the globe experience storm surges like Hurricane Katrina and people decide that they’d rather be live refugees than property owners of land that’s sometimes 5 meters under water.

        1. Do some estimates and consider the possible. You are saying that a 25cm rise in sea level will cause massive moves away from coast lines. Doesn’t this seem far fetched? People adjust to changes this great all the time from land forms sinking. And 50 years is too short to adapt to a 10 inch change at the highest tide of the year or during a storm surge?

          1. As many coastal city around the world have been fighting an inevitably loosing battle against the sea for decades, even century now, with many parts of them below existing sea level at least sometimes or eroding away quickly…. I think they may have a point, not a globally applicable universal one to all places, but the highly developed and integrated city/state/nation can’t easily deal with changes like that in its heart, or retreat back a little bit at a time.

            It really will be more a case of we need to build at great expense with no time a new city a few miles inland for some future proofing and many a coastal city will be effected as the seas rise and likely get rougher storms. So for a while homeless but deeper inland being the ‘best’ choice may actually be true in some places with only those directly involved in the shipping and fishing industries staying that near the coast for a while.

          2. For the sinking cities – mostly built on river deltas no longer being renewed by flooding – how will climate mitigations change their situations? Will they stop sinking? If 10 inches or 25cm is catastrophic, why are they not utterly destroyed by a 1 meter storm surge?

          3. @Comedicles Because drainage systems and floodwalls can generally deal with storm surges. Surges aren’t permanent. They go away after a day or two. Rising sealevels and sinking land are not temporary.

      2. >Shrinking the population shrinks the economy, and if that happens, say good-bye to quality and quantity.

        Is there any evidence for that? Sanfran has a higher gdp, bigger economy that new england, but the people own nothing, will rent 200 sq ft boxes until their death, spend their entire lives working and still cannot afford much. In new england they might have less money, but everything costs less, they have land, houses, and arguably a better life by almost any metric that isn’t a gross dollar sum.

        The economy right now is based off of waste, throwaway culture, how does this benefit anybody. How does bringing more consumers to buy more plastic and bury it in the ground helping anybody, if this stopped how would it hurt anybody other than those freeloading off of actual producers?

    3. ? While it’s completely contrary to the Malthusian Catastrophe we’ve long been trending towards and long expecting, Musk is actually 100% correct. Just look up the current fertility rates by country, and you’ll see that most of the developed world is already below the steady-state rate of 2.1 births per woman. ( The global rate is still at ~2.48, but declining sharply. ( It turns out that as societal prosperity increases, fewer women are interested in having children.

      In fairness, I don’t think anyone saw this coming, so it’s not surprising that you think Musk is wrong. It’s kind of crept up on us over the last decade or so, and it’s only in the last year or two that people have generally caught on to what’s already been baked into the societal trends and demographics.

      It is in fact going to become a severe problem across much of the world. As the population shrinks, societies are going to have a harder and harder time providing for care of the elderly. This is just now starting to be felt in Japan and South Korea. I suspect it’s being felt in China as well, but that country is such an economic mess right now, it’s hard to tell how the different problems stack up against each other.

      Bottom line, Musk’s right. Check the links above and you’ll see that de-population is going to be a huge problem in another decade or two.

      1. Oh my! The Limits to Growth is still influencing people’s thinking. Pick up a copy of “On Systems Analysis” by David Berlinski. It might help greatly with examining pop-science claims.

  3. Break out the lifeboats! Oh wait, we are on lifeboat Earth.

    I agree that climate is changing and the oceans will rise. But I believe the we will never get everyone to agree on a climate agenda – especially the China and India. I suggest that we start doing some real planning for sea level rise.

    It’s coming, folks….

    1. A rise of 3.4mm/year does not need special planning. You have 100 years to handle a 13″ change in high tide, which is over an order of magnitude smaller than storm surges. Anyone who thinks all these “climate measures” will actually have any effect on sea level will also see that no one has to worry about sea-level rise.

      On the other hand, anyone who is worried about seal level perhaps has no faith in the climate mitigations currently passed and proposed in so many countries?

      1. Neither, nor Canada. If the soil was suitable, someone would already be planting there, as in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley region of Alaska at 61º north. The soils are mostly thin and acidic. Melting permafrost will turn vast areas into quagmires unsuitable for any mechanized activity.

        1. Ah so what you’re saying is that the land in Canada would be perfect for farming mushrooms in, which would lower the acidity of the soil and help create networks of fungi that plants could hook into and thrive?

    2. Oh I’m pretty sure they will agree, to some extent they already do as this rapid climate change is causing negative effects there. But just like Europe took forever to even remotely consider treating the cause as the effects were not yet painful or worrying to most of the people it will take a while or some really dramatic events that can’t be ignored.

      The question really isn’t if they will, its the same question you have to ask of the entire world “When will they really put in the effort to change?”. I would be willing to bet that the EU, USA, Aus – pick a nation, any developed(ish) nation and you can find more than a few examples of heel dragging somewhere for some reason.

    3. Why do people always bring up China as an example of non-compliance when they’re doing more than just about anyone? Their per-capita carbon emission is about half of the US. They are increasing over time while the US is currently decreasing, however they are actively working on the problem where half of the US is doing everything they can do go backwards.

      It’s also not a fair comparison because much of China’s emissions are in the service of western nations, since we’ve exported much of our industry there.

        1. What you just said is totally unfalsifiable. If Chinese doctors cured cancer you could say the same thing. Why would you trust what the U.S. state department/the news has to say about its enemy? They have no incentive to represent China fairly, and they have a proud track record of warmongering and lying.

          Is it that crazy that the manufacturing hub of the entire world would be more adaptable than the rusty, rotting U.S.? Especially if they’re Evil Communists, whose entire worldview is about directing humanity’s productive power in a way that benefits humanity-in-common instead of capital?

        1. Dislike of the CCP does not equal Sinophobia; that would be like saying dislike of the Conservative and Unionist Party of the UK is Anglophobia, or that dislike of the Likud Party of Israel is anti-Semitic, or that dislike of the All-Russia People’s Fromt is Russophobic (yes, I realise that last one might sound ironic but take a look at the leadership…)

  4. “As we grapple with what some believe are accelerating impacts of climate change, some say that one of the greatest looming threats is that of rising sea levels.” There, I fixed it for you.

    Ever wonder why seal level was 50 meters lower a mere 12,000 years ago? Or if current popular beliefs might be related to the history of technology? Temperature records made with reliable measurements began at one of the coldest points in the Little Ice Age. What is the Roman warm period compared to today? Particularly the period when temperatures were increasing?

    Anyway, this is good stuff, especially the papers listed below.

  5. Why are you pushing this speculative hyperbole when you could be talking about tech that will have a positive impact on humanity? Did you even notice that Microsoft signed up with Helion to buy fusion reactor produced electricity in 2028? Why aren’t people running around celebrating that, or does it threaten a paradigm shift that is going to disrupt so many politically motivated agendas?

    As for the claims in the article, Ice sitting over bedrock still displaces it so sea ice isn’t that different. Go and look up how deeply displaced greenland is in the center. As a matter of fact the Earth’s crust is so dynamic that its displacement even shows seasonal oscillations, even from atmospheric pressure variations! If the sea gets warmer the edges of the ice sheet melt and the bedrock rises which causes the remaining ice sheet to be lifted up and away from the influence of that warm water. This has already been measured in Greenland which has monitoring stations along its coastline. As published by Bevis et al over a decade ago.

  6. Interesting … I think I see why many aren’t convinced by stories like this. Verbs/phrases such as these don’t make the strongest arguments:

    “Yet to uncover”
    “Could potentially”
    “Predicting … is a complex puzzle”
    “Might be”
    “Could be”
    “Could apply”
    “May be”
    “Might remain”
    “Would be”

      1. It didn’t. Anonymous is a symptom that covid *also* taught us that about 50% of the US population won’t lift a finger, but will lie like carpets, ignore evidence, deny science, and say the sky is green if they might be the least bit inconvenienced, or something goes against their tribal consensus.

  7. I love this place, I really do, so much creativity and talent when it comes to mechanical and electrical engineering…. but
    biology is not your area of expertise,
    some of the biology projects put forward here have a high potential to kill the unwary

    when it come to climate change it is complex, never seen before during human history, impossible to predict
    we burn fossil fuels and:
    atmospheric CO2 goes up, the greenhouse effect start to warm the planet
    wind speeds increase, storms become more frequent more violent
    ice start to melt, a lot of ice, the entire artic in summer, the antartic slides faster into the ocean, glaciers go away,
    ocean CO2 goes up, the ocean becomes more acidic,
    shellfish and coral reefs start to break down because the pH dissolves them, ocean ecosystems struggle
    we cut down forests adding to the CO2 increase, the process accelerates
    the icecaps shrink reducing the radiation of heat back into space

    there are more people on earth then ever before and everyone demands the same high standard of living, burning more fossil fuel, making more plastic and throwing it into the ocean, go look at a beach

    the birth rate may be down but that will not make a dent
    and just because rich people and financial institiutions do not understand the problem does not mean there is no problem just that they do not understand it
    the oil companies knew 30 years ago, the ceos and board of the time either did not understand it or thought they would not live long enough to see

    rich people are not smart, just rich
    financial institutions are full of ruthless idiots
    what is your excuse

    1. The problem with biology is that the vast majority of biologists squeaked through calculus and never looked at a math book again. Yet biology is full of processes that require differential equations. Thus they simplify, which always gets exponential growth or decline and signs of doom. DOOOM I Say!

      1. Biology, like every other science, is a very rich field, where there are specialists for everything. Sure, diff eq may not be on most syllabuses, but the actual practitioners of such fields are a very diversified group of individuals that cover a vast swath of knowledge.

  8. The answer seems to be right at the beginning … “We do not know” “Why should we not act upon what we know” … well for that exact reason … incomplete information acts, asking for f-ups.

    1. Ah so we are going to go back to being a hunter gatherer species, or wiping ourselves out deliberately? As “We do not know” everything about just about everything, and frequently have not. Asbestos the wonder material, Microplastics getting everywhere, Smoking’s health problems, antibiotic resistance etc examples are everywhere…

      So as you can’t seriously mean that. In which case you have to mean we really should be backing away from the industrial revolutions pollution problems as best as we can as fast as we can – as “We do not know” the full effects of the levers we have pulled, but there is an ever growing amount of evidence for it being problematic to our own health, the climate, the ecology we rely on to eat, breath, recycle most waste products eventually…

      1. Progress is often on things “we do not fully know”. “We do not fully know” is not a good reason to not act.

        Any scientist worth their weight in salt will downplay the absoluteness of anything. And we always will have people / internet trolls to use any hint of doubt to deny the entire argument.

    2. I don’t know that if I run that red light that there’s going to be another car in my path, so I better keep my foot on the accelerator. Best not act until I have all the information.

    1. Sure, if the goal of Mother Nature is stasis. On the other hand, consider that Mother Nature has produced humans, which will soon have the ability to detect and deflect celestial objects which have caused a reset of life over and over.

  9. I am seriously heartened by the number of appropriately skeptical responses here! What the heck has changed in the last 2 years? Is it a result of the terrible responses to Covid-19 made by so many “experts” and governments? Are more people applying reason and simple thought experiments and separating the possible from the impossible? It is really interesting.

    Curious people want to know.

    1. More credulous fools feel backed by authoritarian politics to run their mouths on subjects they know little about than in the past. When elected officials are postulating that forest fires are being started by secret space lasers, why should they conceal their own unfounded opinions?

      The earth is flat! Birds aren’t real! Global warming is a myth! etc.

    2. How close and frequent do the forest fires and hurricanes have to be before you notice something is wrong? We don’t need the models any more. We have made the world pretty inhospitable, and I don’t need “reason” or “thought experiments” to know family members that have had to evacuate their homes multiple times in the last few years, or to know that weather patterns where I live have been getting more extreme.

      Sitting in your mind-palace and “reasoning” all day will lead you to make up a bunch of nonsense. Try out your senses for once, because something is very wrong.

  10. How does warm, less dense water, sit on the ocean floor? Density of water decreases with decreasing temperature except between like 4C and 0C when it expands as it cools due to slowing of molecular motion and consequent alignment into the amorphous crystalline structure for ice.

    1. When peeing into a toilet you may have noticed it pooling at the bottom of the bowl.
      The warm salty urine is denser than the cooler fresh water in the bowl.
      The cooler water by the glacier is recent runoff from the melting glacier.
      So there you have the 0 to 4 degree Celcius you mentioned.

      1. Great explanation i forgot to account for salinity.

        I was aware of atmospheric inversions though just figured the ocean would nice more … somehow… for some reason.
        Thanks again

    2. Great question! If you were to take a cube of the ocean out, seal it off on all sides, and not allow kinetic energy of any of the water molecules to change, eventually the hotter molecules (the “higher” temperature ones) will make it to the top, much like you expect. If a mechanism pumps/creates/etc. hot water at the depths, at a rate faster than the hot water can rise, we get what is described.

      Similarly, this awkward “hot particles at the bottom” occurs in our atmosphere. The troposphere (lowest 10km) has temperatures decrease as altitude rises. However, in the stratosphere, the temperature increases again. There is more at play, because air is a compressible fluid, but this also defies intuition in a similar manner, IMO.

  11. It feels those who have commented are very much into denial.
    Science isn’t “black or white”, it’s directional. The direction this article points to can’t be denied.

    1. RELIGION is founded on belief.

      SCIENCE is founded on skepticism.

      SCIENCE IS black or white. You develop a hypothesis (a guess). You test it. You document the results — did your test disprove your hypothesis or not, OR was it inconclusive (mean the test setup missed something, maybe something not yet known.)

      The most ridiculous thing I heard over the past 3 years, and I heard a lot of ridiculous things was “Believe The Science.” –See above.

      1. Great point. I need to improve my language-choice to help distinguish between “we have no clue”, “we kind of know”, and “we know”. It’s very black/white that excess greenhouse gases will lead to catastrophic global warming. Everyone knows catastrophic, but how catastrophic is where the “directional” part comes in. Thank you!

      2. Personally I think that phrase is perfectly justifiable even for the hardest most provable of sciences – the readers of this site are probably educated broadly enough to interpret the data themselves in many fields, so they don’t need any faith in anything beyond the data set, and in many cases they can gather that themselves too. But even most of us will not have the time and interest to delve into every possible problem that deep, and many folk couldn’t even remotely begin to comprehend it – in those cases you have to “Believe The Science” has been done and presented without deliberate bias, and so is true enough to work with.

        And no Science is not black or white – perfect proof absolutes exist only in pure mathematics, it being a self describing rulebook that may never be violated, everything else is built on our incomplete understanding of the universe modelled as best we can. Even Mathematics has shades of grey where it deals with the real world – statistics is a field entirely made of grey, as how you work on the data changes the output, the best you get there is confidence in how large a margin of error you have and the direction of travel…

        1. Statistics is how you determine if you disproved your hypothesis or not.

          Please add “Everyone knows” to the list of questionable verbiage above. “Everyone knows” about the MODELS.

          1. Statistics is a tool for analysis, that is by its nature not black and white perfect… It is only able to say ‘this is very probably correct within some margin of error’ – so our results are ‘off white’ not ACTUALLY WHITE but close.

            Which means everything that must use it (which is everything dealing with the real world at all) can not be treated as entirely ironclad, immutable and absolute fact, just good enough to work with – More than a few theory get ‘proved’ by experiment and analysis, only to then be proved incomplete or even actively incorrect as the structure of the experiment or increasing data quantity/quality turns out to reveal something else.

          2. I have found it is best to avoid bringing up statistics in relation to science. There are inevitable too many degrees of freedom in the argument, much like the way statistics are used when there are too many degrees of freedom to measure in an experiment. You have a 50:50 chance of winning the argument. But there is only a 10 percent chance of that.

  12. Taking into account the fact that part of a glacier based on land is actually over water and therefor needs to be classified and modeled differently than “Land Based” or “Floating” Ice appears to be an important factor. Oops.

  13. I’m just a lowly country scientist but last I checked hot water rises. I’m having a real hard time with large pools of warm water existing below the surface of cold water and targeting the backs of glaciers with surgical precision

  14. Doesn’t the geologic record (from ice cores) show that rising sea levels verses ice ages are cyclical? True human consumption is speeding up the process. I in-vision the ‘day after tomorrow’ effect but not on the grand Hollywood theatrical scale presented. We are in the upside of the cycle, humanity will not like the effects. Environmental education is very important. When we start adding socioeconomic into the equation, the environmental aspects are lost.

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