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Mon Dec 10, 2012, 05:42 AM

Bye, Bye Alexandria: A 1-Meter Sea Rise is Certain

http://www.juancole.com/2012/12/bye-bye-alexandria-a-1-meter-sea-rise-is-certain.html

Bye, Bye Alexandria: A 1-Meter Sea Rise is Certain
Posted on 12/10/2012 by Juan

COP18, the Climate Change Conference held in Doha, Qatar, is a dismal failure, with the United States and Russia being the chief villains. The failure of the world’s leaders to have their hair on fire about the extreme challenges of the climate change we are producing with our carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions has imperilled some countries more than others. Subsaharan Africa is in the firing line for the worst effects of climate change. But the low-lying areas of West Bengal and Bangladesh, and of the Egyptian Delta, are especially vulnerable to the one-meter sea level rise that the COP18 failure has ensured will occur within 80 years.

Here at geology.com there is a useful web tool that lets you see what the world looks like with a 1-meter (about three feet) sea level rise, which is now certain to occur by the end of this century. Actually, in past eons, a one-degree Centigrade increase in average temperature has produced a 10-20 meter rise in the seas. We are certainly going to exceed a 2-degree C. increase, so we could see a 20-40 meter increase, i.e. 60 to 120 feet. Obviously that would put a lot of our current land under water, but it will take a long time for that extreme rise to occur. The seas are very cold, very deep and very big, and circulate slowly, so that they will take thousands of years to warm. Once they do, human beings will be in big trouble. And even these enormous, icy bodies of water will warm up a bit by 2100, causing sea level rises of at least a meter, and maybe two. This is what Egypt would look like with a one-meter rise (and no, you can’t build sea dikes to deal with that kind of increase):





The city of Alexandria, celebrated in the poetry of Cavafy and the novels of Lawrence Durrell– with its 4.5 million population– has no more than 80 years to live. Note that Alexandria is bigger than Chicago (inside city limits), America’s third-largest city. The Delta city of Damanhour, where Muslim Brothers and their rivals clashed last week, leaving a young man dead? Under water. The ports of Damietta and Rosetta? Gone.

Alexandria is a key port for Egypt, with necessary infrastructure, through which 4/5s of the country’s imports are brought in.

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply Bye, Bye Alexandria: A 1-Meter Sea Rise is Certain (Original post)
unhappycamper Dec 2012 OP
sellitman Dec 2012 #1
Victor_c3 Dec 2012 #2
dipsydoodle Dec 2012 #17
DFW Dec 2012 #3
burnsei sensei Dec 2012 #4
Coyotl Dec 2012 #5
AtheistCrusader Dec 2012 #6
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #7
AtheistCrusader Dec 2012 #8
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #9
AtheistCrusader Dec 2012 #12
Coyotl Dec 2012 #11
AtheistCrusader Dec 2012 #13
Coyotl Dec 2012 #15
AtheistCrusader Dec 2012 #16
NickB79 Dec 2012 #18
ellenfl Dec 2012 #10
wtmusic Dec 2012 #14
truebrit71 Dec 2012 #19
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #20
muriel_volestrangler Dec 2012 #21

Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 07:06 AM

1. Keep voting for those Koch Brothers America!

Profit before Planet.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 07:15 AM

2. I'm not arguing at all about the sea rise here, just pointing out a fact most people aren't aware of

Last edited Mon Dec 10, 2012, 08:58 AM - Edit history (1)

I'll have to find the article pointing this out and I'll post a link to it later.

Most people expect the sea levels to rise uniformly, however that isn't the case because of gravity and how the weight of the ice caps is distributed. So, as the ice caps melt, the weight on the land mass beneath them will decrease. This in turn affects plate tectonics. Without getting into too much detail (as I don't have all of the facts in front of me right now), scientist predict that some portions of the globe will see the sea levels drop (mainly around the northern european/scandinavian areas), stay the same in some areas, and rise drastically in other areas (equatorial regions). So, that 1 meter number is averaged out. The people who will see a rise will most likely see a very drastic rise that could me more than 1 meter.

I really need to find this article. It was published in Der Spiegel about a year ago (if I remember correctly). Again, I'll try to dig for it and post it when I get the chance to.

----edit----

Found it. The article is actually 2 years old. It even has some nice charts and maps too.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-uncertainties-of-global-warming-sea-level-could-rise-in-south-fall-in-north-a-732303.html

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:08 PM

17. Interesting article

Thanks for going to the trouble of rooting the article out.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 07:21 AM

3. When I saw the OP, I didn't know which one was meant.

Alexandria, Virginia, the city of my birth, would probably suffer a similar fate.

My beloved Cape Cod as well. And the Maldives had better look for some new real estate. Anyone planning on their grandchildren seeing that country in its current location had better book now.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 07:30 AM

4. One difference of opinion here:

But the low-lying areas of West Bengal and Bangladesh, and of the Egyptian Delta, are especially vulnerable to the one-meter sea level rise that the COP18 failure has ensured will occur within 80 years.


One conference is not going to change any of this.
It was coming for decades, and reversing it may take centuries or millennia.
Another thing you did not mention will go missing when Alexandria is submerged-- the Coptic See.
But then, the majority will probably not mourn its loss.
The proud in their conceit, all over the world, will try to imagine that they have lost nothing.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 07:55 AM

5. Your estimates/info may be way off.

When Greenland finishes melting, the water will have risen far more than this mere meter.

By the end of the century, most cities could be underwater.

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Response to Coyotl (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:41 PM

6. Antarctica is adding snowpack.

It's a complex system from stem to stern. Difficult to predict the final outcome for any expert.

Greenland isn't going to 'finish melting' in our lifetimes. Well, not mine, anyway.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:55 PM

7. Why?

 

Regarding your melting predictions for Greenland

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 03:12 PM

8. The immobility of the ice, and the total amount of heat required to melt it.

A goodly chunk of it will melt, yes. Enough to make a different, certainly.

"From 1996 to 2000, widespread glacial acceleration was found at latitudes below 66 degrees north. This acceleration extended to 70 degrees north by 2005. The researchers estimated the ice mass loss resulting from enhanced glacier flow increased from 63 cubic kilometers in 1996 to 162 cubic kilometers in 2005. Combined with the increase in ice melt and in snow accumulation over that same time period, they determined the total ice loss from the ice sheet increased from 96 cubic kilometers in 1996 to 220 cubic kilometers in 2005. To put this into perspective, a cubic kilometer is one trillion liters (approximately 264 billion gallons of water), about a quarter more than Los Angeles uses in one year."

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2006-023


It contains 2,850,000 cubic kilometers of ice.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland_ice_sheet

220 cubic kilometers melted in 2005... (Actually, Nasa revised those numbers down to 193 last year)

Going to take a while to melt that.
It's also going to take a long while to march right off the land mass into the water, even with the enhanced glacier flow due to the melting. If you split the ice in half, upwise through the middle, and sent it all directly toward the ocean in all directions at the fastest observed pace so far (which has only been observed in limited places, for limited durations, but I'm going worst case scenario here), we have about 25 years before all of it is deposited in the ocean.

I'm not saying it's not a big deal. It's a ridiculously huge deal. But it's just one of many moving factors. Can the ice flow faster? Maybe. We haven't observed it yet, but yeah, maybe. If the Atlantic currents move to melt it faster, how big is the resulting ice sheet that will form in Europe?

We are juggling priceless eggs in variable gravity. Could be worse than we think. Could be better. Preparing for the worst seems prudent, since a lot of the variables are already in motion, and beyond our control. Cease all CO2 production today, and we still have a lot of problems to contend with.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 03:17 PM

9. Thanks. That is a lot of ice

 

Though, we may be facing exponential, non-linear temperature increases in the future.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #9)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 05:07 PM

12. Yep. The methane releases kind of scare the shit out of me.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 04:24 PM

11. Yes, in the highest elevations and the glacier is losing 60 cm a year at low elevations

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Response to Coyotl (Reply #11)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 05:23 PM

13. Wrong 'end' of the planet.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 05:34 PM

15. Both ends of the planet.

Antarctica is calving immense glaciers, Greenland is warming.

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Response to Coyotl (Reply #15)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 05:44 PM

16. True, but the story down south is more complex than that.

http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/364/1844/1637.full

On whole, it does appear to be a negative mass balance, so far.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 06:29 PM

18. Antarctica is in fact losing ice

http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2012/11/30/global_warming_is_melting_greenland_and_antarctic_ice_and_contributing_to.html

This is not good news. A new international study—done by 47 experts using data from multiple satellites and aircraft—shows that the Earth is losing ice at an ever-increasing rate from both poles. We’ve known for years that the Arctic has been suffering massive ice loss, with the record low broken more than once in recent years. What’s devastating about this new report is that it shows unequivocally and quantitatively that the Antarctic is also losing land ice, with the critical West Antarctica ice sheet losing on average 65 billion tons of ice every year.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 04:23 PM

10. kick for later. eom

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 05:29 PM

14. This may get the attention of those one-percenters living in the Hamptons

Their property values are going down faster than sea level is going up.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 02:17 PM

19. ..by the end of this century...

..I have to wonder if that too won't wind up being too conservative a prediction...

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 04:03 PM

20. Similar article about Vancouver, BC

 

The network of dikes protecting Metro Vancouver will require billions of dollars in upgrades in coming years because of rising sea levels, according to a new report issued by the B.C. government.

The cost of dike improvements over the next 90 to 100 years could hit $9.5 billion, according to a report released today by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

The study looked at 250 kilometres of coastline around Metro Vancouver and shoreline along the Fraser River downstream from the Port Mann Bridge — an area that encompasses 12 major municipalities with a population of over two million people.


http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/12/11/bc-vancouver-dikes-rising-sea.html

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 06:08 PM

21. The only thing I disagree with is about building dikes for a 1m rise

That is possible; the Dutch protect significant amounts of land more than 1m below sea level already with dikes (and it's probably easier in the Med than the North Sea - smaller tides and storm surges). It's a major engineering project, of course. And they'd have to decide how much of the land behind it to protect - all of it with one huge dike, or let some of it flood?

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