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Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Climate change: the mass of ice versus water

Many houses have outside water taps for gardening or other purposes. In wintertime, it's advised to close the inside water tap and open the outside water tap. If you don't do that than the freezing water - in the waterworks close to your outside water tap - will make your waterworks burst.

The reason for this phenomenon is interesting: the mass of ice is 8.3% more than the mass of near-freezing water, and 8.1% more than water at room temperature (Quora). Obviously, the aforementioned has a substantial impact on the consequences of climate change

However, the impact of melting ice on global sea levels is complex and even counterintuitive:

The above implies that sea level rise will occur at different regions than one would expect:
  • melting (ant)arctic ice will (likely) not result in an (ant)arctic sea level rise;
  • warmer regions may expect the most of any increase in their sea levels.

On 16 January 2019, the New York Times wrote yet another fear-based climate change article: Glaciers are retreating, millions rely on their water. At a first glance, this article makes (perfect) sense. However, ice works like a freezer. BBC-2016: "Defrosted food can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours before it needs to be cooked or thrown away."

In 2017, Quora featured this question: Is glacier meltwater safe to drink? Answer: "We were told, in no uncertain terms, never to drink glacial melt water that appeared cloudy. Supposedly, the ground rock within can sicken a human." Note LO: italic markings in quote are mine.

More serious threats resulting from melting ancient ice are the long-dormant bacteria and viruses which have been trapped for centuries. BBC-2017: "However, what would happen if we were suddenly exposed to deadly bacteria and viruses that have been absent for thousands of years, or that we have never met before?"

NPR-2016: "[Russian] Officials don't know exactly how the [anthrax] outbreak [in Siberia] started, but the current hypothesis is almost unbelievable: A heat wave has thawed the frozen soil there and with it, a reindeer carcass infected with anthrax decades ago." Note LOitalic markings are mine.

Cold as Ice (1977) by Foreigner ft. Lou Gramm as lead singer


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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