43 votes
Accepted

How does global-warming-triggered ice melting cause global sea levels to rise?

Arctic ice, around the north pole floats on top of water. When it melts it does not add to sea level rises and likewise for other ice on water, as illustrated in this video and this video. Ice on land ...
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31 votes
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During the "Ice Ages" or "Snowball Earth" times, where was all the energy?

I'm not quite sure if the question is asking about glacial, ice ages, or snowball Earth, and whether it's about the onset or end of a glacial period. I'll try to hit all three. Ice Ages and ...
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31 votes
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Why does glacier ice look blue?

The short answer is: BECAUSE THE ICE IS BLUE. Now we have to explain why it seems perfectly transparent on ice cubes and industrial ice blocks. It has to do with the fact that most transparent ...
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27 votes
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How would an icicle "grow" upwards?

If there is enough water underground, in a sealed reservoir (like under the concrete in the picture), as that water freezes, it will expand, putting pressure on what ever water is left unfrozen. That ...
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  • 5,317
26 votes
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Why doesn't sea level show seasonality?

Sea level has a strong seasonal signal. The annual variability is less than the daily changes associated with tidal forcing in most locations, but still can be on the order of 5-10 cm (maximum values ...
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19 votes
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How do we know that we are NOT in an "Ice Age?"

I think you're slightly confused by some of the terminology. (Caveat: I'm a geophysist, take anything I say with a grain of salt!) We're currently in an interglacial during a prolonged period of ...
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  • 1,276
19 votes
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What percent of volcanoes are glaciated?

21.7%, by my calculations (338 / 1556 holocene-active volcanoes). I calculated perennial snow by combining 6 weeks of MOD10A2 data from winter and summer weeks in 2014 to figure out which pixels had ...
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  • 2,563
17 votes
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What are the non-anthropogenic causes of The Netherlands' low elevation?

Forming of coastline During the last ice age, the North Sea was dry. When the ice melted sea levels slowly started to rise again and due to tides and currents a barrier of dunes was formed along what ...
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  • 420
17 votes
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If there's more water in the atmosphere due to global warming, how are there fewer mountain glaciers?

Indeed some glaciers are growing and gaining mass due to increased precipitation (in part due to climate change and enhanced atmospheric water content). But that's the case only for glaciers in very ...
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16 votes

How long to melt all the polar ice?

The question is requesting an answer that has no practical application. So rather than improving on some hypothetical calculation, I will describe the problem and hopefully make the difficulty ...
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15 votes

During the "Ice Ages" or "Snowball Earth" times, where was all the energy?

Of course it isn't "absurd", and looking at the ball-park energy budget figures you'll see why: First, I don't think anyone is claiming the Earth is completely frozen. More of a "slushy at the ...
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  • 3,823
14 votes

About moving ice bergs northwards to slow down all the melting a tiny bit. ( Clearing away navigation hazards is a side effect of this.)

Some background. The idea of towing ice bergs to provide a source for fresh water in dry climate zones was first proposed in the 1970s by Weeks and Campbell (1973) and Hult and Ostrander (1973). This ...
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14 votes
Accepted

Glaciology: odd pattern of smooth and ribbed chunks of ice in Antartica

What you see are ice bergs frozen into a sheet of sea ice. The "chunks" are the ice bergs. Ice shelves are fed by two sources, ice from the interior of the ice sheet and ice formed by compaction of ...
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14 votes
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How could this pyramidal Mountain have been formed?

Such forms tend to be created by glacial activity, which, ahem, the ice-covered continent is known for. Much discussion of this in the related question in Skeptics: Are there three pyramids in ...
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  • 2,803
14 votes
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What would it be like to live in an ice age?

It depends where, the continental landmasses at higher latitudes would be covered by massive ice sheets. Therefore the life in the sections of the US and Europe that are close to the Ice sheets would ...
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14 votes

How does global-warming-triggered ice melting cause global sea levels to rise?

Because a lot of that ice is currently sitting on land. When it melts, it will go into the ocean. From the National Snow and Ice Data Center Page (NSIDC), Facts about glaciers: Presently, 10 percent ...
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  • 1,340
13 votes
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Where does the biggest land-based ice cap reside?

Antarctica is the ice sheet (cap) that will contribute most IF it would melt completely. The 2013 IPCC report (Ch. 4, the Cryosphere) provides an estimate of 58.3 m of sea level equivalent (sle). ...
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13 votes

How do we know that we are NOT in an "Ice Age?"

Essentially, we can't. At a meeting some years ago, different specialists tried to define the onset of glaciation and found that each (sub-) discpline had their own definition. An oceanographer boldly ...
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13 votes
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Why do those glaciers form on the lee side of the mountains?

The key is with wind-drifting. The predominant westerlies cause snow to drift into protected places. We should perhaps recall that glaciers exist because they are essentially snow-catchers in a ...
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13 votes
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Can glaciers be less than 30m thick?

The straight answer is no. The definition of a glacier requires the body to be of ice and snow, to move and deform under its own weight. If the body is pure ice the pressure needed to make ice deform ...
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12 votes

Is there a name for this type of ice crystal?

This is needle ice which forms when moist soil freezes, for example during a cold night. Freezing starts at the ground surface and as ice is formed moisture gradients develop which draws water to the ...
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12 votes
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Converting glacier volume to mass: what ice density to use?

This is a non-trivial issue. When you look at volume change of a glacier, you typically subtract two digital elevation models to obtain the difference between the two. First, you must differentiate ...
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12 votes
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Will increased precipitation in Antarctica prevent sea level rise?

There is some scope for continuing debate because quantifying the various components of the ice/snow/water balance are fraught with difficulty, and many of the estimates have error bounds which ...
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12 votes

How are 'road-like passages' between Himalayan mountains formed?

It's a glacier, it this case the Baltoro Glacier in Karakoram, Pakistan. The road-like pattern is formed as the glacier slowly flows towards lower altitude from a nearby ice-cap or accumulation zone. ...
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  • 5,896
11 votes
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What geophysical knowledge have we learned by the construction of IceCube?

IceCube was initiated as the Antarctic Muon And Neutrino Detector Array (AMANDA) project. Since the sensor array involved drilling deep holes vertically into the Antarctic ice sheet by melting ice, no ...
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11 votes

How would an icicle "grow" upwards?

Ice can grow up from the ground in the form of needle ice. The formation requires sufficient moisture in the ground. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) site needle ice can ...
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11 votes

Why did "Glaciologist Princess Elsa" have to leave the glacier because it was too warm?

I'm the scientist in the article; someone just saw this question and emailed me about it! (I'm on as a guest here since I don't have an account, so you'll hopefully trust it's me. Even if you don't ...
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  • 111
11 votes
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What is the name of this landform?

This is a large glacier calving event. Calving occur at the front of the glacier, probably a very wet (and likely warm based) glacier where a considerable amount of water is flowing out of the system (...
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10 votes
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Can earthquakes contribute to Antarctic ice loss?

There are two ways in which earthquakes could affect the Antarctic ice sheet, either by occurring on the Antarctic continent or by occurring elsewhere and sending tsunami-type waves towards the ice ...
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