35 votes
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Why is relative sea-level falling in Hudson Bay?

The area is experiencing post-glacial isostatic rebound. Much of Canada was covered in an extensive ice sheet in the last glacial period (the 'Ice Age'), from about 110 ka until 12 ka. The ice in the ...
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  • 10.7k
33 votes
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How much will sea level rise if all the polar ice melts?

Using the latest numbers from the 2013 IPCC report (Ch. 4, the Cryosphere), Antarctica contains 58.3 m of sea level equivalent (sle) and Greenland 7.36 m sle. Remaining glaciers provide an additional ...
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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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16 votes

How much will sea level rise if all the polar ice melts?

As Peter Jansson explains, sea level rise purely due to melting of land-based global ice works out "to approximately 66.1 m sle." An issue with respect to sea-level rise that isn't often mentioned (...
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  • 2,826
14 votes
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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

Why is relative sea-level falling in Hudson Bay?

Because of post glacial rebound. The asthenosphere was pressed down under Laurentide ice sheet during last ice age and is now finding a new balance, without the weight of the ice. Note that around ...
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  • 5,896
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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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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11 votes

How much will sea level rise if all the polar ice melts?

(I can't comment on @kaberett answer as a guest) Don't forget the odd effect that as ice melts and the water warms from 0C to 4C, that water will contract slightly, dropping sea level a bit (at least,...
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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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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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10 votes

How long to melt all the polar ice?

Don't rest so easy, ravenspoint. The Laurentide ice sheet at its maximum extent was larger than the Antarctic ice sheet is now. The bulk of that ice sheet melted in two pulses of 2000 years each, ...
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9 votes

How much will sea level rise if all the polar ice melts?

As Peter Jansson pointed out, it adds up to 66.1 m of sea level rise. But what does that really mean for us? Here's a nice interactive map tool where you can enter how much the sea level will rise and ...
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  • 191
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, ...
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  • 5,896
9 votes
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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 ...
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8 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 ...
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  • 2,822
7 votes

How much will sea level rise if all the polar ice melts?

While @kaberett's and @Phil Perry's answers are technically true, keep in mind 2 important issues: the oceans are so vast and so deep that it literally takes decades if not centuries for them to warm ...
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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 ...
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6 votes
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Did the surfaces of the oceans freeze over entirely during the snowball Earth periods?

By looking at the recent literature on the question, I see neither a consensus or a definitive answer on the extent of the snowball earth. Since the Neoproterozoic Snowball Earth event is more recent,...
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  • 2,623
6 votes

At what rate are the polar ice caps shrinking?

It's important to identify which ice. Polar bears are arctic, and they hunt in large part on sea ice. Arctic sea ice is decreasing and the most common point used for the disappearing arctic ice is ...
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  • 5,707
6 votes
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What is more important in Antarctica calving or basal melting of the ice shelves?

There are two studies published in 2013 that provide the most recent updates on this balance Depoorter, M.A. and 6 others, 2013. Calving fluxes and basal melt rates of Antarctic ice shelves. Nature, ...
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6 votes
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How are the thickness of ice sheets from previous glaciation periods determined?

There is no direct way to determine past ice thickness. The only solid information that exists are past areal extent. But, even this information is not necessarily clear since later advances may have ...
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6 votes
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How deep is the permafrost in the Antarctic?

According to "Permafrost, active-layer dynamics and periglacial environments of continental Antarctica" South African Journal of Science 98. pages 82-90: Only 25% of Antarctica has permafrost, as the ...
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  • 5,892
6 votes
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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-...
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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, ...
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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, ...
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  • 20.2k
4 votes
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What evidence is there linking melting ice caps and changes in tectonic movement?

Continents move slowly. Glaciations are ephemeral in comparison. That said, there apparently is a huge connection between plate tectonics and whether the Earth is in icehouse or hothouse conditions. ...
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4 votes

How much will sea level rise if all the polar ice melts?

I had been to a conference at the NY American Museum of Natural History and the guest speaker at the science convention estimates about 220-230 feet (66 - 69 meters). If the polar ice caps melted, ...
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  • 49
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). ...
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