Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Ice Freezes, Ice Melts, That's What Ice Does

The North Pole is expected to be ice free this summer for the first time in history. "We're actually projecting this year that the North Pole may be free of ice for the first time [in history]," University of Manitoba smart guy, David Barber, told National Geographic News aboard the Canadian research icebreaker C.C.G.S. Amundsen.

The August 2000 National Review said, "Santa and his elves don't have to panic after all, according to today's New York Times. This is a switch from two Saturdays ago, when the Times breathlessly warned readers on its front page that the North Pole was ice-free for the first time in 50 million years."

Human caused Global Warming is destroying the North Sea ice cover. Again. Or so Al Gore's Fried Earth groupies would have us believe. But could the warming sea water and melting ice have another cause? Like, maybe, undersea volcanoes? Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, WHOI (not pronounced 'whooie') discovered far below the Arctic ice sheet, "evidence of explosive volcanic eruptions... Explosive volatile discharge has clearly been a widespread, and ongoing, process."

According to ScienceDaily, June 26, 2008, "These are the first pyroclastic deposits we've ever found in such deep water, at oppressive pressures that inhibit the formation of steam, and many people thought this was not possible," said WHOI geophysicist Rob Reves-Sohn, lead author and chief scientist for the Arctic Gakkel Vents Expedition (AGAVE) of July 2007. "This means that a tremendous blast of CO2 was released into the water column during the explosive eruption."

Deep sea volcanic eruptions under multi-tons of water "usually emit lobes and sheets of lava during an eruption, rather than explosive plumes of gas, steam, and rock that are ejected from land-based volcanoes. Because of the hydrostatic pressure of seawater, ocean eruptions are more likely to resemble those of Kilauea than Mount Saint Helens or Mount Pinatubo."

Investors Business Daily asks, "Is it possible that these eruptions, part of an "ongoing process," have played a part in whatever melting there has been of the Greenland and Arctic ice sheets?"

Other smart guys at NOAA have drawn this chart that shows the Arctic ice was stable until 1999 when there was a dramatic stability drop-off. That was the very year the deep sea Arctic volcanoes started erupting.

A science expedition, the Science Ice Exercises (SCICEX) program, aboard the nuclear submarine USS Hawkbill in 1999, found evidence on the Arctic seabed of ancient floating ice sheets. These ice sheets are possibly the largest known ice sheets to have existed to date (Science Daily, Mar 27, 2001.)

In separate Arctic Ocean seafloor regions, Lomonosov Ridge near the North Pole and the Chukchi Borderland near Alaska, SCICEX images revealed several distinct features gouged into the seabed, "including matching sets of parallel grooves and ridges. Sometime in the past...the bottom of a very massive floating ice sheet scraped across the seafloor in both areas -- almost 1 km below the water surface at the Lomonosov Ridge and more than 700 meters below the water surface at the Chukchi Borderland...The sonar images clearly showed objects resembling rocks and other debris that may have once been dragged along the seafloor beneath the grounded ice...Such amazingly coherent sets of streamlined grooves and ridges could only be made by one thing - sliding ice. And only a large ice sheet could carve such a broad sets of parallel features."

Random pattens are carved into the seafloor by free floating icebergs, according to the SCICEX researchers. This lends weight to a theory that, at one time, some 10,000 to 1.5 million years ago, one humongous ice sheet may have covered the entire Arctic right down to the sea floor.

The findings bolster a theory held by some scientists that one giant ice sheet covered the entire Arctic. Indeed, one theory says the entire planet was one big snowball from pole to shining pole. Then the snow and ice melted in an early pique of global warming millions of years before the Industrial Revolution, the discovery of fire and oil, and the appearance of planet devouring human beings.

So, what happened that ginormous sheet of ice? Well, since it's no longer here it must have, wait for it...melted. That's right ice melts into liquid water and liquid water refreezes because that's what it does. It's done that many times over millions of years and guess what? It's doing it again!
Actually, this is about the 62nd time the ice has melted. So get over it.

Cue the global warming sheriff: Nothing to see here, folks. Just move along, go on home now. Ignore the man behind the curtain; it's only Al Gore.

h/t Todd

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


Gayle said...

Yep! I've been reading about this, Indigo. But facts are not going to be allowed to get in the way of Gore and his minions. They don't deal with facts... they only deal with feelings. What a bunch of losers America has been raising! Whiny men like Al Gore who I suspect wouldn't know how to do a hard day of physical work if his life depended on it!

Indigo Red said...

I like the part about the ice going all the way to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. That's a really big chunk of ice.

When I was a kid, I learned in school about the Northwest Passage. Guys like Henry Hudson were looking for it. Much earlier, Irish monks told of an ice free route across the north that had since closed up.

Currently, the Passage is believed to be a complex route through the Canadian archipelego. I think the idea when I was a kid is the right one, the Northwest Passage is across the open Arctic Ocean.

todd said...

Just noticed the h/t, thanks. A number of years ago there was a polar expedition that was trying to find the northwest passage and in the middle of their journey they got trapped by ice buildup. It came at them fast, real fast, and they were stuck there for several years. Climate changes, fast.

Indigo Red said...

I seem to recall an expedition to the NPole, tourists really, got caught in a rapid polar freeze. They waited quite a while before being rescued.

The points are the same: arcti weather changes fast without much warning and the reasons are poorly undertood.