In A Hunk Of Planet Dissolves Before Our Eyes, Robert Krulwich says that all of Earth's ice could be melted in a thousand years.

How long will it be before there isn't any ice left? We've had such moments before in earth history; it's certainly possible.

When Henry Pollack (a professor emeritus of geophysics at the University of Michigan) was asked, he answered, "Losing all the ice in the world? I think sometime between a thousand and 10,000 years encompasses most probabilities."

A thousand years is not a lot of time. As Craig Childs says in his book, Apocalyptic Planet, 10 centuries ago Europeans were busy building cathedrals.

Robert Scribbler foresees complete ice melt too.

Tottering Totten and the Coming Multi-Meter Sea Level Rise

Unfortunately, atmospheric concentrations of heat trapping gasses are still rapidly rising due to an increasingly dangerous emission coming from global fossil fuel burning. In addition, risks are rising that the Earth System will begin to contribute its own substantial amounts of carbon — possibly enough to raise the CO2e number by around 50 to 150 ppm over the next few centuries. Two contributions — one we control and another we do not — that risk swiftly pushing the global climate context into a 550 to ....

You don't stay awake worrying about predictions ten centuries from now?

Sure, Earth's ice melted before and many species survived. Of course there weren't extra man-made greenhouse gases about, nor forests being clearcut. Still, what's the big deal?

For me, it's thinking about water's latent heat. Specifically it's what happens with constant heat input while ice is melting versus that extra heat just raising ocean and land temperatures. Melting ice is absorbing a lot of heat, right now, protecting us. Visualize that worst case scenario.

image source (added text of mine illustrating the worst case scenario, in red)

<sigh> Latent Heat is a disturbing niggle at the back of our minds, for those of us who knowingly reside on a destabilizing planet.

image source, image source

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Insane

Collectively insane

Phytoplankton and krill

yammer at us

Bill McKibben puts it to us,

image source

…“the warming is having its greatest impact upon the building blocks of life in the seas, such as phytoplankton, zooplankton and krill.” That is to say: we are profoundly mucking around with the very bottom of the planet’s most basic chains of life.

There’s only word for what we’re doing, and that is “insane”. On an ocean planet, we are wrecking the ocean.

The oceans are heating up. That's a big problem on a blue planet

image sources:

Bill

krill

phytoplankton [not endorsed]

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