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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 ...
Gordon Stanger's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Have russian drilling operations in lake Vostok succeeded yet?

The Russians did "succeed" to reach the water at borehole 5G-2 in 2012. However, the lake water flooded into the borehole due to overpressure, and refroze. They drilled again during the next campaign ...
Jean-Marie Prival's user avatar
9 votes
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Considering how old the Antarctic ice cover is, why isn't it much thicker?

Ice floats with gravity towards lower elevation, the flow continues until the base of the ice sheet becomes floating and the ice forms an ice shelf or icebergs. Due to the subglacial topography, ...
user2821's user avatar
  • 5,946
9 votes
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Can ice caps reform if they disappear?

Yes, polar ice can melt -- significantly, if not completely, with substantial effects on human civilization. And it can stabilize and recover, but the question is at what pace relative to human ...
jeffronicus's user avatar
  • 3,487
7 votes

How much of the ice on earth is floating?

A first-order estimate is about 5%. This is a trickier question than it first appears because of ice shelves. Quoting from Kusky (2014): Ice shelves form where ice sheets move over ocean waters ...
Matt Hall's user avatar
  • 11k
6 votes
Accepted

How does ice-penetrating radar "see" through kilometers of ice without being absorbed?

Water molecules do interact with microwaves and in microwave ovens that operate at 900MHZ- 2.5GHz. This Radar instrument operates using Very High Freq Radio Waves at 193MHz [1]. At lower-than-...
potatasbravas's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Were sub-sea river channels formed when the land was above sea level?

Can it be concluded, based on this picture alone, that the channel was formed when the entirety of it was above sea level? In other words, is that the most plausible known mechanism for the formation ...
David Hammen's user avatar
  • 23.7k
5 votes

Last ice age: did glaciers move South or move downhill?

Did glaciers move South or move downhill? You are posing this as an either-or question. The answer is "Yes." The highest points above sea level in Manitoba, Minnesota, Ontario, Michigan, ...
David Hammen's user avatar
  • 23.7k
5 votes
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Why hasn't all the water on earth evaporated and been frozen at the poles?

Frozen glacial ice flows downhill; even if the catchment (where the snow falls) never rises above freezing the ice there still flows towards oceans, ie does not stay where the snow fell. The edges of ...
Ken Fabian's user avatar
  • 2,120
5 votes

How does ice-penetrating radar "see" through kilometers of ice without being absorbed?

When electromagnetic waves travel through a medium, it can interact with the medium in question. But that interaction depends on the electric properties of the medium. Ice, being a dielectric medium, ...
Mingthondraba Bill's user avatar
4 votes

Considering how old the Antarctic ice cover is, why isn't it much thicker?

An interesting point to consider comes from your assumption of a constant rate of precipitation. Many earth system processes have non-trivial stochastic variations (or high-dimensional chaos). ...
Z W's user avatar
  • 432
4 votes

Would the enthalpy of fusion for melting ice fields be a causative factor for colder winter weather?

Would the enthalpy of fusion for melting ice fields be a causative factor for colder winter weather? No, for a number of reasons. Ice sheets melt in the summer and rebuild in the winter. This is ...
David Hammen's user avatar
  • 23.7k
3 votes

Help understanding radar data in subglacial lake complex beneath Devon Ice Cap

In the figure: The top panel is the radar gram measured in depth below ice surface (m). It is flat because when you do the measurement it starts from the surface which is 0m. The distance from the ...
potatasbravas's user avatar
3 votes

Will increased precipitation in Antarctica prevent sea level rise?

Drifting into what-if territory (and apologies for the lousy units) : Let's pick a rough rule of thumb that 30 inches of ( cold temperature) snow is equivalent to one inch of water. The land area ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Would the enthalpy of fusion for melting ice fields be a causative factor for colder winter weather?

The short answer is YES, but with a very important caveat. It won't be colder than usual, but colder than it would have been if the Greenland ice sheet weren't there to absorb that heat, and by a very ...
Camilo Rada's user avatar
  • 17.7k
3 votes

Did the surfaces of the oceans freeze over entirely during the snowball Earth periods?

There is no consensus, but educated opinions. I tend to think that they did not freeze over. Some interesting arguments are given by Dorian Abbot in his paper where he first published about the ...
Chris Rackauckas's user avatar
3 votes

Considering how old the Antarctic ice cover is, why isn't it much thicker?

There is a balance between precipitation on the one hand, and sublimation and outflow on the other. Ice evaporates directly to water vapor, especially during the summers. The thicker the ice, the ...
Jack Denur's user avatar
2 votes

Can ice caps reform if they disappear?

Ice caps are not essential for the planet to be habitable - over geological history, they are usually absent. Melting them would inconvenience many humans, though - there is a good calculator of this ...
Andrew Jon Dodds's user avatar
2 votes

Can ice caps reform if they disappear?

Yes they can reform even if completely melted and they done this have in the geologic past, you just need to get the planet cool enough again. You only need two things for ice caps on earth, ...
John's user avatar
  • 6,966
2 votes

Considering how old the Antarctic ice cover is, why isn't it much thicker?

According to "Ice Sheet Modeling" ice behaves as a deformable plastic material, which means that there is a critical shear stress, below which no strain (deformation or flow) will occur ... If ...
Keith McClary's user avatar
2 votes

Last ice age: did glaciers move South or move downhill?

Glaciers flow downhill and outwards. Outwards means if you form a glacier on flat (or with a round body, gravitationally equipotential) ground, then its weight will eventually push it outwards in all ...
Oscar Lanzi's user avatar
  • 3,926
2 votes

Has Antarctica's coastline been completely mapped? (map discrepancies)

To complement the other answers: it is also true that the coastline in that region hasn't been fully documented yet, primarily because a large amount of it is covered by glaciers. As an example, Sif ...
plannapus's user avatar
  • 5,348
2 votes
Accepted

Why was the ice age more severe in North America than in Eurasia?

To add more detail to @Andy M's answer and your subsequent question in the comment: Canada is much closer to the wet USA and there is no ocean in between. Ice doesn't have to correlate with the ...
Mehmet Karatay's user avatar
2 votes

Why was the ice age more severe in North America than in Eurasia?

For ice sheet formation you need both cold conditions and precipitation, if it's cold but dry you will get permafrost, but not enough snow to build up glaciers. This map of precipitation during the ...
Andy M's user avatar
  • 2,091
1 vote

Last ice age: did glaciers move South or move downhill?

I think that it’s a language issue. When people talk about glaciers “moving south”, they don’t mean that any specific glacier literally moved south. They mean that the general area in which glaciers ...
Gimelist's user avatar
  • 23.1k
1 vote

Has Antarctica's coastline been completely mapped? (map discrepancies)

The key sentence here is (not sure where the dataset is from) Every cartographer has to decide what level of detail to use. Mathematicians discovered the Coastline paradox for themselves in the 1960'...
Spencer's user avatar
  • 3,638
1 vote

Ice cores: how is Oxygen-18 isotopic variation converted to temperature changes?

It depends on which latitude you are in. In polar regions, a relatively linear equation can be used. This is because the so-called Liatiude effect has an extreme influence on the 18O signature. $\...
Weiss's user avatar
  • 2,043
1 vote

A better way to prevent ice shelf from melting and raising ocean levels?

In the journal Nature, "Geoengineer polar glaciers to slow sea-level rise" professor of climate change John C. Moore and three colleagues (a geoscientist, an applications scientist, and a ...
jeffronicus's user avatar
  • 3,487
1 vote

A better way to prevent ice shelf from melting and raising ocean levels?

The problem is that "inland" is uphill from the sea. If you can cause gravity to make water flow uphill, you can solve many more problems than just sea-level rise.
jeffB's user avatar
  • 798

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