Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, there goes Antarctica

Another New Scientist story puts some more mortar on the climate change edifice, Antarctic glaciers calving faster into the ocean:

The edges of the Antarctic ice sheets are slipping into the ocean at an unprecedented rate, raising fears of a global surge in sea levels, glaciologists warned on Monday.

The findings confound predictions made just four years ago, by the UNĂ‚’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that Antarctica would not contribute significantly to sea level rise in the 21st century.

Something tells me that we don't really understand the sea level equation well enough yet. Another recent story talked about the Amazon basin sinking about three inches under the load of a rainy season drainage -- which makes me wonder if the continental crust isn't somehow more adaptive — maybe even buoyantt — than we think. Maybe all the ice melting into the ocean will just cause some tectonic compensation?

Or maybe it's a bad time to invest in low-lying coastal land...

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