Geothermal heat may be melting the Greenland glaciers

Not by Fire but by Ice


Discover What Killed the Dinosaurs . . . and Why it Could Soon Kill Us


Geothermal heat may be melting
Greenland glaciers


Nov 2007 – Excerpts: “Much has been made of a possible precipitous collapse of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets due to manmade climate change and the catastrophic sea level rise if such a collapse were to occur.

Greenland (Credit: NASA/SVS)

“Hansen et al. believe that the most likely and most critical of these dangerous effects is the possibility of substantial sea level rise due to the breakup of parts or all of the ice sheets covering Greenland and West Antarctica.”

“Hansen’s Glacier Model is Wrong!

“Hansen’s scenario is not reasonable. Indeed, it is not even possible. Hansen’s seeming ignorance of the mechanism by which glaciers flow leads him into major errors.

“Hansen is a modeler, and his scenario for the collapse of the ice sheets is based on a false model. His model has the ice sheet sliding along an inclined plane, lubricated by meltwater, which is increasing because of global warming.

“Unfortunately, Hansen’s model includes neither the main form of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets, nor an understanding of how glaciers flow.

“Greenland differs from Antarctica in that the ice sheet spills out through gaps in the mountain rim, and the glaciers overlie deep narrow valleys. According to van der Veen et al. (2007), such valleys have higher than usual geothermal gradients, so it might be geothermal heat, rather than global warming, that causes some Greenland glaciers to have higher than usual flow rates. (citation below)

           I’ve been saying for years that underwater volcanoes (geothermal heat)
           are heating the seas. It’s heartening that this paper says that geothermal
           heat may be melting the Greenland glaciers.

“In reality, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets occupy deep basins, and cannot slide down a plane. Furthermore glacial flow depends on stress (including the important yield stress) as well as temperature, and much of the ice sheets are well below melting point. The accumulation of kilometers of undisturbed ice in cores in Greenland and Antarctica (the same ones that are sometimes used to fuel ideas of global warming) show hundreds of thousands of years of accumulation with no melting or flow. Except around the edges, ice sheets flow at the base and depend on geothermal heat, not the climate at the surface. It is impossible for the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to “collapse.”

See all of this 7-page paper by geologist Cliff Ollier, School of Earth and Geographical Sciences, The University of Western Australia. Paper was published under the name “Are the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets in Danger of Collapse?”

1. van der Veen, C.J., Leftwich, T., von Frese, R., Csatho, B.M. & Li, J. (2007), “Subglacial topography and geothermal heat flux: Potential interactions with drainage of the Greenland ice sheet,” Geophysical Research Letters, v.34, LI2501, doi:10.1029/2007 GL030046.)





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