Re: If all the ice melted...

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sun Jul 01 2001 - 15:06:09 MDT

On Sun, 1 Jul 2001, Spike Jones wrote:

> Even the most wild-eyed greenhouse theorist would
> estimate the sea rise would take a few thousand years.

Hmmm, Spike, this needs to be written up in more detail.
The problem of the quantity of heat required to melt the ice,
the rate of heat transfer into the ice and the rate at which
the oceans would rise is an important problem. One which
is likely to be short-shrifted given the popularity one
can expect for A.I.

Why should you write it up? Because this wasn't obvious to me!
Now, mind you I hadn't thought about it in detail, but I'd
generally assert that if its not obvious to me it certainly isn't
going to be obvious to many people.

So if you can find a discussion of this on the net, send me the
pointers. If not, you have to write it up. No arguments, groans,
claiming a lazy butt, etc. You have to write up a clear position
paper determining the time it would take to melt the glaciers on
the planet. I'll make a specific place on the net for you to
put it.

As an EXTROPIAN, it is your responsibility to see that bad memes
not spread excessivly. Therefore, it is your duty to see this
idea through to completion! (I just love saying that...)

Now, after it is written up, perhaps we can send something off
to Spielberg and his writers asking for a response as to why
they painted a picture of an "impossible" scenario. A
confrontation such as that, would I think, provide extropians
with some spending currency in the Pro-Act arena.

> Furthermore, if we thought it over, there are ways of storing water
> inland on Antarctica, even in a runaway greenhouse scenario. Also
> we could cool the earth if necessary by artificially increasing the
> planet's albedo, again with plenty of time to react.

These ideas too should be added to the paper. Its time to bury
the Doom-N-Gloomists with the facts.

> If the greenhouse transition is over thousands of years, it
> all seems irrelevant, for our terraforming technology will long be in
> place before we lowlanders start needing to swim.

I agree with that point. That much is obvious to me from having
researched the carbon fixing capacity of the oceans. *However*(!),
that isn't to say that there will not be thousands to millions of
lives lost due to climate disruptions. This week's Science paints
a very grim picture of the consequences to the Texas Medical Center
( from the recent rains in Houston. The losses in
animals involved in ongoing biomedical studies will have unforeseen
negative consequences in future years that impact on human health
and well-being.

> Movie scenes of a drowning statue of liberty are memorable but
> place incorrect and harmful memes in the minds of the masses. spike
It depends how far you take them. To raise concerns of sustainability
is IMO a good thing. To preach doom-n-gloom is most probably a bad
thing. The trick is to strike a balance between motivation and panic.


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