Saturday, November 14, 2015

Goodbye Miami, Goodbye New Orleans,

The authors of a newly published Science paper, Mouginot, et al., show that a Greenland ice shelf, Zacharia Isstrom, is melting at an accelerating rate due to ocean and atmospheric warming that just by itself will certainly raise sea levels by nearly two feet.  This will happen whether or not actions are taken to slow or stop global warming.

And it won't take long
The observations show that “the rates of early 21st-century [glacial] mass loss are without precedent on a global scale, at least for the time period observed and probably also for recorded history,” according to the study from the World Glacier Monitoring Service, based in Zurich. The study, published last week in the Journal of Galciology, looked at more than 5,000 measurements since 1850.
The melting is speeding up. Glaciers are now losing mass twice as fast as they were in the period from 1901-1950, three times as fast as in the period from 1851-1900, and four times as fast as in the period from 1800-1850, the researchers found. 
 Here in the Pacific Northwest most of the shoreline is bordered by 100 to 150 foot bluffs on which it is very popular to build houses with great views of surrounding mountain ranges and a sound teeming with seacraft.  In the next few decades they will all fall into the sound.  Any bank officer offering twenty year mortgages for these houses will need to have their sanity examined.

And a major pair of north/south railroad tracks running along the sound that even now closes down for several days every time it rains because of mud slides will simply cease to exist.

But all of that pales before the eventual inundation of Miami and New Orleans.