The Importance of Context in Science!

OK, this one is just STUPID: Antarctic Icebergs Caused Huge Sea Level Rise 14,600 Years Ago

Here’s the first two paragraphs, beyond which few can be counted on to read:

A new study reports icebergs breaking off Antarctica caused rapid sea level rise 14,600 years ago.

A study published May 28 in the journal Nature reports that the Antarctic icebergs may have caused rapid sea level increases. The researchers identify eight events of increased iceberg numbers from the Antarctic ice sheet, happening between 20,000 and 9,000 years ago. The largest influx of icebergs, which happened 14,600 years ago, resulted in a sea level rise of 6.5 feet over 100 years. The study provides the first direct evidence for historical, significant melting of the Antarctic ice sheet.

Where to even start? How about:

– you mean, as the last glacial period was ending, not only did Europe, Asia and North America lose hundreds of thousands of cubic miles of ice into the sea, but Antarctica did as well?  Well, I’m flabbergasted!

– I’d love to see the ‘direct, historical evidence’ going back 20,000 years, Who were these great paleo-historians, and in what language did they write? Maybe they included photographs – that would be nice.

– these historic Antarctic icebergs, as recorded by Oog the Remarkably Precocious in an epic series of reports scribbled in ocher on strips of birch bark and mammoth hide, contributed 6.5 feet of sea-level rise during the last de-glaciation? That’s out of the 394 or so feet the sea has risen over the last 20,000 years? Ok, then.  One hopes all those coastal cities managed, over those 11,000 years, to move their yurts an extra 7′ higher than they would otherwise have moved them based on Cro-Magnon settled science.

Unfortunately, I did read the rest of the little article. It doesn’t get any better. Instead, here, we manage to include breathless news of a terrifying sea-level rise of 6.5 feet in the first paragraphs without mentioning that this was in addition to a much larger rise due to the melting of the ice sheets in the northern hemisphere.

Sheesh. The real take-away: the sea level might rise significantly over the course of a century. Keep that in mind when building your coastal cities. Also, Yellowstone might blow, a cubic mile of steep island might fall into the sea, an asteroid might hit – all these things have, like ice sheets melting, happened more than once, and, had there been any people around, would have caused hardly imaginable death and destruction.

Anything that has happened is possible – Aristotle

It’s a dangerous world out there, Frodo. But in general, you’d be better off, risk-wise  getting a little exercise and  refusing to vote for candidates that promise some flavor of free lunch, than worrying about gigantic disasters that happen, when they happen, no matter what you or anybody does.

Advertisements

Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s