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Polar Apocalypse

2007 ,    »  -   35 Comments
Ratings: 5.44/10 from 9 users.

Ten percent of the Earth's surface is covered in glacial snow and ice. As our planet heats up this frozen water is starting to melt at an increasing rate. This could have a catastrophic effect on the sea levels across the world.

Coastal cities like New York could sink several feet beneath the ocean. But just how and when could this disaster movie scenario become reality?

The world is getting warmer. The twelve warmest years on record have occurred since 1990. It's global warming and its consequences could be devastating. Some scientists predict stronger and more frequent hurricanes, more forest fires, increased desertification, and more droughts, as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reaches record levels.

One consequence is already happening. Glacial meltdown. The latest data suggests that is happening even faster than we ever imagined. Already it's changing the world and our children will grow up in it. The world that we helped to create.

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35 Comments / User Reviews

    RK Musgrave
  1. RK Musgrave

    How all this water is to defy science and make the water 'rise' and not fall..? If these glaciers melt their weight will no longer be displacing the water - thus causing the level to actually drop.

    It's basic science.


  2. DigiWongaDude
  3. DigiWongaDude

    @ RK Musgrave, that is the most ridiculous thing I've heard this year. :)

    Basic Science Experiment:
    Take a large block of ice (or several ice cubes) and place it in a glass. Now fill the glass to the brim with water. When the ice block melts, the glass will overflow with water. [edit: this is wrong, as Achems pointed out]

    Why? Because water, unlike most liquids, expands when it freezes - ice crystals form with pockets of air between them, causing it to float and exert less displacement when frozen.

    Basic science. I do, however, encourage you to keep questioning things and remind you we learn more from first getting something wrong as this nice example hopefully shows.

  4. Paul Gloor
  5. Paul Gloor

    They touched on that much, the sea ice that has already melted has had negligible effect except to dilute the oceans salt levels a bit, BUT, the total land ice, which is not displacing any water, will cause all this mayhem not to mention reducing the oceans salinity further. Also remember that these glaciers aren't your average ice cube. They are formed under tonnes of pressure and are most likely far more dense.

    Back on the topic of salinity. Wiki says....
    "Salinity is an ecological factor of considerable importance, influencing the types of organisms that live in a body of water. As well, salinity influences the kinds of plants that will grow either in a water body, or on land fed by a water (or by a groundwater).[9] A plant adapted to saline conditions is called a halophyte. Organisms (mostly bacteria) that can live in very salty conditions are classified as extremophiles, or halophiles specifically. An organism that can withstand a wide range of salinities is euryhaline.
    Salt is expensive to remove from water, and salt content is an important factor in water use (such as potability).
    The degree of salinity in oceans is a driver of the world's ocean circulation, where density changes due to both salinity changes and temperature changes at the surface of the ocean produce changes in buoyancy, which cause the sinking and rising of water masses. Changes in the salinity of the oceans are thought to contribute to global changes in carbon dioxide as more saline waters are less soluble to carbon dioxide. In addition, during glacial periods, the hydrography is such that a possible cause of reduced circulation is the production of stratified oceans. Hence it is difficult in this case to subduct water through the thermohaline circulation."

  6. DigiWongaDude
  7. DigiWongaDude

    @ Paul Gloor. Well put. It is assumed that the addition of all the freshwater from the ice will affect the salinity of the surrounding water enough to halt or disrupt the flow of mid atlantic conveyor. As your post suggests.

    But how can they be so sure? It's believed to have happened before when the medievil warm period (MWP) caused enough melting to affect the flow of the mid atlantic conveyor, which in turn may have caused the Little Ice Age (LIA) in Europe which lasted a few hundred years, as the warm waters no longer flowed there, as it does today.

    So in Europe the waters would rise AND freeze for possibly hundreds of years. However, and this is my assertion, there is much historical data to show we Eurpoeans experienced bitter temperatures, but there is not much (if any) to show waters rose or fell in any significant way, due to the last melt off.

    I'm with the guy who said, "Global warming employs a hundred thousand people or more. Ask for funding to study the mating habits of Red Squirrels, and you'll likely get zero funding. Ask for funding on how the mating habits of red squirrels are being affected by global warming and suddenly you get your money."

  8. Achems_Razor
  9. Achems_Razor

    You better redo your basic science experiment, the glass will not overflow with water, stays the same, goes by weight.

  10. DigiWongaDude
  11. DigiWongaDude

    Sigh, you're right. I'm shocked, felt sure I was right on this. So, I learned something from being wrong (again!). :-/

  12. velcro
  13. velcro

    Surely the issue with melting ice is that much of it is above the waterline in ice form, therefore if it melts, the sea level will rise no?

  14. oQ
  15. oQ

    Wouldn't there be a faster evaporation of water as the body of water widens?

  16. southab403
  17. southab403

    Actually 2/3 is below the water line, so the melting of an ice burg has almost no effect on the level of water.

  18. tomregit
  19. tomregit

    "Actually 2/3 is below the water line."
    No. More like 90% is under water. Look at an ice cube in a glass and judge for yourself. Look at the link provided by over the edge. It describes why there may be a rise in sea level if fresh water ice melts in salt water.
    I am going to try this in a glass of salt water. I don't know if it would show up on a small scale since the effect is very small.

    @oQ: I don't believe so. Even if coastlines are flooded and entire islands are under water the extra surface area is infinitesimal compared to the area of all the oceans.

  20. fhade
  21. fhade

    This is so cool! Hopefully my house will end up having a beachfront :)

  22. shewhowatches
  23. shewhowatches

    I do not believe any of these observable effects on Earth; hurricanes, global warming or glacial melt are due to an external cause. The cause is in effect internal, and is relative to rate of speed as the iron core of Earth heats up with rotation increases. If you could imagine Earth's core functions as a "magnetic monopole", an elucidation eluding physicists, then as I see it energy and matter are simply using the time factor to recalibrate ratios and unify the polar dysfunction. So over time we observe the manifestation of internal change as it surfaces.
    Physicists seek the illusive monopole suggesting it should be as abundant as the gold atom. What they fail to determine is it is within every atom, excepting hydrogen, where Earth's iron ballast defines the structural determination; that from center (core) all is equidistant to any when (time) or where (space) to the periphery.
    Eventually they will come to the conclusion Earth dictates our lives. The changes we now undergo will result in what Einstein termed "The Cosmological Constant". The old man was correct, though a few years out of time. Yes, his biggest blunder will prove to be his greatest triumph in the end of time.

    The Earth borrows 02 from the depleting ozone, borrows hydrogen as ice melts (H2O evaporates) creating necessary hydrogen carbonate (HCO3)to shift the atmospheric ph, as this infused into any acid creates water.....thus neutralizing acidity. This should be our major concern. Our physiologic integrity has been compromised due to the acidic nature of stagnant toxic waters treated with chemicals and tainted by pesticide use. Ultimately, we could cure our diseased condition simply by balancing the ph in water that is basis for all matter.

    The intention of Earth's core in speed of rotation will become apparent in time. We have no power to create the necessary changes that in time shall become clear to one and all.

  24. Sourabh Jain
  25. Sourabh Jain

    I just wanna point out that there is a misunderstanding about basic science experiment on ice/water displacement and sea level rise.

    Rising sea level is not about ice in/on the water. Glacial ice is formed on rockbed, not on water. So, as ice/snow melts, it will add EXTRA water. In addition, thermal expansion of warm water. These factor are major contributor to sea level rise.

  26. rbalfour
  27. rbalfour

    It is not the sea ice at all, of course that melting has no affect on ocean levels. It is the Ice Sheet Collapse caused by basal temperature rise at the margins, lubrication of the continental ice which does not have to melt, it just has to slide into the oceans. The three main steps of this (Greenland plus 2 main bodies in Antarctica total 200 feet rise or 60m. See all polar reports in last decade and summation in The Abrupt Climate Change report from NASA, Goddard/ Hansen. Worst case envisioned 8 years ago was 6m rise by 2100, now with business as usual no slowdown in our activity, 60m is possible due to slippage of ice, not melting. This does not include another 13m worth kept in the Antarctic depression awaiting rebound. This has occurred before, the end of the last ice age/polar cap over Hudson Bay did a similar thing and wiped out Bronze Age culture. This time however we likely get no ice as a moderating influence and once the phase change is complete, we have runaway heat conditions. The ice in the glass model is irrelevant to this situation, a whole lot of ice, no glass.

  28. Achems_Razor
  29. Achems_Razor

    Do you know what you are talking about? I don't.

    Show me where in the cosmological constant what you are trying to elucidate shall come to pass.

  30. Stephen
  31. Stephen

    Guess what kids? Our toys have got better, our scooters quicker and, therefore, our observations keener. We can NOW get to these places that we never could access before - and don't give me ''ICE CORES'' please! Every one is ''breaking-a-bollock'' to find out what is going on - on Earth? The answer my friends is ''NOTHING UNUSUAL''. EARTH IS WELL and always will be. It is Mankind that has to look out for itself. This is a statement of fact - not RELIGION. The religions of Earth have caused over the centuries - billions of deaths. Sad that we are still factional in 2013.

  32. DigiWongaDude
  33. DigiWongaDude

    So the monopole particle, a yet to be discovered theoretical particle no less, is actually a neutron? Hence not found in hydrogen?

    From Wikipedia:
    "Even though the neutron is a neutral particle, the magnetic moment of a neutron is not zero because it is a composite particle containing three charged quarks. [...] The neutron has a negatively charged exterior, a positively charged middle, and a negative core."

    QED: not a monopole particle.

  34. shewhowatches
  35. shewhowatches

    To answer your first question, yes.
    I base my posture on a simple and unknown, as yet, hypothesis of my late husband.....a new elucidation of the atom. The structural determination makes certainty of Heisenberg's Uncertainty; that position and momentum are one and the same, and that time, therefore does not exist as is believed within the linear context of current dogma.
    Had Einstein won the debate with Bohr in 1917 we would have reconciled gravity and electromagnetism unifying the fields before his demise.
    The theory of a new structural determination of the atoms dictates the relationship of each electron to proton, and the function of the neutron relative to the electron on the periphery and its proton. All internal components of the strong nuclear (magnetic domain) must mirror numerically the external identity of electrons. What this determines then are the isotopes (additional neutrons) are contained rest mass offsetting equilibrium. As energy to matter recalibrates the true magnetic strong force will release/repel these isotopes creating symmetry as energy and matter exchange occurs in a simultaneous event.
    Unification based on this new atom will create a static Universe of symmetry derived from zero point; where at that center all is equidistant to the periphery, as apposed to the dynamics of one construct of asymmetry.

    Einstein did not envision his theory using linear logic. Hence, his futuristic insights were the result of a dynamic comprehension, that enabled he see with a 360 degree view of all that was, is and will be.

    The Universe or macrocosm is a reflection of that which is small...the microcosm. The event as we move from a dynamic world into one static is one of simultaneity in resonance to a newly structured atom.

    Shall I say all is as it should be? Yes of course. String or M theory is a part of the new atom's construct, as has been each postulated through linear time.
    There is one concern. They implicate the Higg's Boson as a probable cause of the Big Bang. If that be true, and if history repeats itself, then we are about to make the same mistake again.
    For if the atom is indivisible, then the sub-atomic realm CERN and others work so diligently to 'see' beneath are at once and again working towards catastrophy.

    If we had eyes in the back of our heads we would see a simultaneous contraction of what we think is an ever expanding Universe......time is interference and in need of reprimand.
    The Hubble Redshift finds the blueshift on the doppler moving ninety degrees perpendicular.....from where we stand on the grand scale with eyes in one direction we cannot see....and can only imagine.

    So you said you don't know. Know what? What do you seek?
    I know what I am looking for. Words are tools and I express what I THINK through them.
    Of course that makes no sense to you....unless you might put yourself in my shoes. Perhaps from my perspective you could glimpse for just a moment and glean the intent of my words.

    The changes are all around and inside us.....I am reacting very simply to how it makes me feel. Expressing that is the difficult part. But it doesn't make it right or wrong.

    I will bet you in a short time we will see proof of his Cosmological Constant. The Maya knowledge of 'the Dark Rift' and the Galactic Alignment of 2012 will turn out to be, though in a confused language, the same thing Einstein knew. What is in that black hole in our Milky Way is being delivered in a direct current to Earth for release of the anomalous ferromagnetic domain due to restructure of the very atoms she is comprised of.
    Bipolar Asymmetry= a dynamic Universe
    Mono-polar Symmetry= a static Universe

  36. tomregit
  37. tomregit

    @ shewhowatches

    "You have done nothing to clarify your muddled thoughts or your unintelligible sentences.

    "The cause is in effect internal, and is relative to rate of speed as the iron core of Earth heats up with rotation increases."
    Are you suggesting that the rotational speed of earth is increasing? The opposite is true due to tidal forces and is borne out the observation that the mean time of one day is growing longer.

    "position and momentum are one and the same, and that time, therefore does not exist as is believed within the linear context of current dogma."
    Please enlighten. Position and momentum do not even have the same meaning; therefor they cannot be the same as each other. A vector is not a position.

    "strong nuclear (magnetic domain)"
    What does the strong force have to do with magnetism? The weak nuclear force has been theoretically and experimentally united with electromagnetism at high energies to become the electroweak force. The strong nuclear force may be united at far higher energies, but this is still an unproven postulate.

    "They implicate the Higg's Boson as a probable cause of the Big Bang."
    I have never heard this conjecture. Can you show a source?

    "For if the atom is indivisible, then the sub-atomic realm CERN and others work so diligently to 'see' beneath are at once and again working towards catastrophy."
    There should be no explanation or citation needed to demonstrate the folly of that statement. The atom is divisible.

    Either your late husband was a very confused man or you do not understand his hypothesis. There are other untruths, misstatements, confused ideas, and faulty logic contained in your rambling sentences. I'm not going over every strange sentence and idea because this should be a sufficient debunking for now. I trust others with a deeper understanding of physics than I have may want to weigh in.

  38. Klaus-bud Oracle-kaczor
  39. Klaus-bud Oracle-kaczor

    It's a sad thing that the predictions of the scientists in the doc about a storm surge were proven prescient by Sandy only a short while ago. The saddest thing is that imbeciles still arguing about what is about to happen and involving God's will as a cause. But this is only trauma from the human vantage point. The rest of the planet will probably sigh relief when the human population crashes, though. I wonder what changes on the macro and micro scales nature has in store for this planet in the future and whether even a single human will be around to witness it. And if a society of humans survive what the changes and adaptations people will have to make for that to happen. What a grand experiment it is and thankfully it does not depend on humans to survive.

  40. danton
  41. danton

    thank u sourabh and rbalfour (and some others), cant believe ppl are still going on about ice cubes in a glass or ice burgs when refering to sea lv rise! please educate yourself before commenting guys as you spread mis-infomation

  42. Jack1952
  43. Jack1952

    It is not the ocean ice melting that will cause sea levels to rise. It is the glaciers that sit on land, the Greenland icecap and the Antarctic icecaps. Water evaporates from the surface of the oceans and is dropped as snow onto the glaciers. This gathers over thousands of years until it is hundreds and thousands of feet thick. A long process. If these glaciers melt suddenly the ocean levels will rise.

    A variation of the glass experiment will demonstrate this. In a pan, place some dirt in one corner so it is almost to the top of the pan. Fill the pan with water but allow part of the dirt to be above the water line. Mark the waterline on the side of the pan. Remove some of the water and put this water in the freezer. Mark the waterline again. When the water in the freezer is froze solid, place it on the dirt that is above the waterline in the pan.The removal and freezing of the water and the placing of the ice on the dirt will represent the evaporation and precipitation process that is experienced on earth. When the ice is completely melted you will find that the waterline has returned to the original mark. That is why and how the ocean levels will rise if the glaciers melt. We have been living in the time of the water sitting in the freezer, another way of saying the time of the water locked up in continental icecaps.

  44. Buzz Knapp-Fisher
  45. Buzz Knapp-Fisher

    Our world would be a better place with out toxic. We are getting off filthy oil-gas are you?

  46. brianrose87
  47. brianrose87

    So the Mayans were correct afterall!

    We must only wait an unspecified amount of time before the REAL hyperbolic monoductal quantum magnetic flux field disequilibrium adjustment destroys the world.

    I always knew that the super massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way had it out for us... How dare it mess with our planet's magneto-time core.

  48. david p
  49. david p

    All lies ! Global warming nothing but a big swindle. Sun spots dictate warm and cold spells.

  50. KsDevil
  51. KsDevil

    I think this documentary demonstrates that even when people are informed they will reject science in favor of there here and now. You could show this documentary to the people of New York and New Jersey and remind them they were warned and they will still make rationalizations as to why they did not prepare.
    What can you do when people refuse to listen? Who will be the adult?

  52. Jason Donaghy
  53. Jason Donaghy

    u know with glacial melt from greenland alone which is a land mass itll provide enough sea level rise if only a metre or so globally ....and u know what theres about 470 odd nucleur power station reactors around the world in many different countries and around 425 of them are by the sea on coastlines for obvious reasons(away from population centres ...sort of/more importantly to safely store and cool reactors n radioactive by product materials )anyhow sea level rises over a fairly swift period will create a pretty unpredictable scary situation .....they arent gonna move a nucleur reactor anyway too easily without the political will and more importantly -the money to safer places .they cant cos all the areas are contaminated hence enviromental damage beyond imagining ....they cant just turn off a switch ...i promise u itll be the big thing that goes beyond controllin

  54. Nwttp
  55. Nwttp

    I see you comment on things you know nothing about on all new docs. Maybe you should read your own comments whilst looking for ridiculous things.

  56. John Tripp
  57. John Tripp

    Guess you know something scientists don't. Ignorance is bliss isn't it?

  58. John Tripp
  59. John Tripp

    Damn you are smart, wish I'd read your comment first!

  60. Marcel
  61. Marcel

    Of course the earth will be fine... Haha us on the other hand, we got problems

  62. Marcel
  63. Marcel

    I mean until the sun gobbles it up of course.

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