Oceans Rising

I just completed a book titled “The Power of Crisis”by Ian Bremmer. Mr Bremmer predicts that the three largest threats to the world are: global warming, pandemics, and disruptive technology. As I read the passages about how people living on islands in large oceans are losing ground to rising waters, I thought about the phenom of global warming. I’m not sure I totally buy into this problem yet. Most of the blame is being pointed toward the polar ice caps melting. I see a problem with that premise. Number one, ice is frozen water and water expands as it freezes. The net effect is zero. When it melts it loses volume and returns to normal. As an experiment I filled a glass with ice cubes and then poured water over the cubes to fill the interstitial spaces to the brim. If the global warming argument works then I should see a flood of water around the glass as the ice melts, but I didn’t. The ice melted and the frozen water contracted in volume and stayed in the glass. This will work as long as the ice and water are floating together. If, however, the ice is on land like a glacier, and the glacier melts, that is adding water to the lake, or ocean. There are other effects that will cause water to rise in an ocean. One is gravitational pull of the moon. Which causes tides to rise and fall.

Antarctica is a continent which means there is ground somewhere beneath the ice we see. They have even discovered lakes under the ice. What triggered me to think of melting ice is the many experimental stations working at Antarctica. These are huge communities of buildings built on the ice and heated. Within the big buildings are smaller mini houses which are homes and offices to the hundreds of people who live there year around working on various experiments. Each of the mini-homes is heated to a human comfort level. All of that heat goes somewhere, it just doesn’t disintegrate. I picture all this heat transferring from the heaters inside the mini-homes into the walls and out into the large external building, and through it’s walls into the air surrounding, and into the ground upon which it is built. Except the buildings are not sitting on ground, they are sitting on ice. I picture this Arctic village which is inside a large building gradually melting away at the base, and the water flowing downhill toward the ocean. I’d be willing to bet that the amount of ice melting at the South pole is greater from the experimental stations than it is from air temperature rising due to increased carbon dioxide.

Anyway, I digressed from the book. Covid has scrambled my brain to think negatively about the effects of global warming. Over the course of the life of earth there is evidence of several cycles of global warming that have occurred, all before the invention of automobiles, the discovery of oil and before there were billions of people on the planet. All of these cycles of warming occurred due to natural phenomena, and I believe that we may be riding along on the wave of another warming cycle which we will not be able to do anything about, except to adapt as it happens. I would be more inclined to learn how to build effective dikes than how to generate electricity using wind power. Or perhaps we should be learning how to tap the molten core of earth to generate the heat we need to run power-plant turbines.

The crisis being caused by global warming is in the minds of those who think reducing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere is the only answer, and who cannot shift their paradigm.

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