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Now for an ice age?


nangadef
Resolved

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Forget global warming http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/14/ice_age/

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Grey Goo

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oresome

Positive

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Forum Editor

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oresome

"Fresh water generated will sink as it is less dense."

It's a fact, sea-water is more dense than fresh water, which is why a boat displaces less sea-water than fresh, causing it to ride higher. The colder fresh water becomes the greater its density, and as sea water warms up its density decreases.

How this affects climate is a complex story, but very briefly, our climate depends to a great extent on what's called the Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC). This is often referred to as the the Great Ocean conveyor belt - vast quantities of water that circulate around the oceans, driven by changing density as the salt water warms and cools. It is this conveyor (in the form of the North Atlantic Current) that moves huge amounts of relatively warm salt water up past the East of the British Isles, preventing us from freezing over in the winter months. When the water reaches the Greenland ice cap it cools, increases in density, and sinks before flowing south toward Antarctica, eventually making it all the way to the Pacific Ocean, where it rises back to the surface to complete the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt. It takes about 1000 years for water to make a complete circuit.

If unusually huge quantities of cold, dense freshwater from melting polar ice meet the warmer North American current off the coast of Greenland the fresh water will sink below the salt water, preventing it from sinking and returning south - it would effectively turn the MOC off, and climate changes would occur all over the world. Here in Britain we would be plunged into an ice age. Life for us would change beyond recognition, it would become a struggle simply to survive.

This change could occur very rapidly - in as little as a decade. There's evidence to show it has happened several times in the past.

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Forum Editor

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Housten

"...a 300/500 foot thick ice sheet that came down and covered the whole of Britain and into France."

The best calculations show that the thickness of the ice sheet over most of what is now called Britain was around 900 metres at the peak of the last period of glaciation.

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Quickbeam

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There's some very good offers on in the summer months at your local outdoor wear shops. Get ready now!

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Housten

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Forum Editor,

Thank you, I did say - in my defence - ( I think ) just before because I th0ught it was a lot more but wasn't really concerned with the thickness, just that it had melted about 10/12 thousand years ago and how had the world warmed up without all us human beings do it all. The only sensible way was that the world warmed up on a natural basis, which could - at least - be happening now and therefore nullifying the global warmers theory - but most of them and the greens and BBC don't appear to accept even the possibility of this.

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Chegs ®™

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I will accept that minimising pollution will slow down climate change,but am irked by the various governments levying of "green taxes".Especially when this taxation is a fixed amount levied against an unknown quantity of pollution damage to the environment.

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Forum Editor

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Housten

To be honest, I attach less importance to the question of why the world is warming than to the fact that it is warming. Whether we're to blame or whether the warming is a natural process isn't really the issue in my mind.

What we need to focus on is how we're going to deal with the consequences.

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