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Another crack-up

November 5, 2011

[15th J.P.'s Moment of Common Sense, my weekly oratorial exposition on Broad View, KBZZ 1270 AM Reno.  Click on the microphone to listen.]

Let's talk about rising sea levels. Every so often a big chunk of ice breaks off some glacier, has a Free Willie epiphany, and makes a break for open water. Then the newspapers jump into automatic Global Warming mode and relate the chunk of ice to rising sea levels.

Keep listening: because five minutes from now you will be the smartest climatologist in your living room after I tell you how to prove, using nothing but a glass of water and an ice cube, that breakaway ice bergs have zero effect on sea levels.

But sea levels aren't rising anyway. Let's get that idea out of the way first. We've all heard that bloviating blowfish of climate baloney, Al Gore, warning the world about the ocean pouring into Manhattan and covering Florida and drowning unnamed Pacific Islanders, but Al recently bought an expensive low-lying condo in San Francisco, so his sincerity is questionable.

Up until this year, information about sea level was largely based upon data from the University of Colorado Sea Level Group which recently admitted they've been adding three tenths of a millimeter to their measurements each year, to correct for… well, actually nobody knows what they were correcting. A measurement is a measurement, right? It doesn't make sense to spend time, effort, and money trying to measure something if you add an arbitrary amount to the result.

Three tenths of a millimeter doesn't sound like much, but it's about ten percent of the average annual change. You can't go through life adding ten percent more to your measurements every year. Think about it. If a carpenter did that for a decade, his ten-foot 2x4s would end up twenty feet long and nobody would hire him.

One thing for sure: nobody will ever trust the University of Colorado Sea Level Group again.

I think they started adding that three tenths because the actual measurements weren't cooperating with the Global Warming storyline, which predicts a calamitous rise in sea levels. Even with the addition, their graph shows a sea level drop over the last couple years, so the real drop must be smoking-gun awkward. Gee willikers, they had to fix the graph before they lost their secret agent-of-Global-Warming membership cards and had to return their decoder rings.

What brings this up is an article that appeared in newspapers this week about one of those chunks of ice. According to Fox News, a huge crack has been found in Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier, and if the crack finishes… well, cracking, it will release an iceberg 340 square miles in area and 1,640 feet thick. That sounds huge, which is why these stories get big headlines, but 340 square miles is actually mediocre in the size department. Fox couldn't even compare it to the size of a state or country. Last year the Mertz Glacier calved a chunk that Reuters described as "an iceberg the size of Luxembourg." In 2009 everybody was hysterical about a chunk "larger in area than the state of Connecticut."

But whatever the size, the media will insert a warning about Global Warming, which is why I want you to get a glass of water, put an ice cube in it, and then mark the water lever with a magic marker or piece of tape. Then wait for the ice cube to melt. Then compare the water level to your mark. Trust me: it won't change.

Floating ice occupies a volume of water equal to its weight, and since ice has lower density than water, part of it ends up sticking up out of the water. The overall result is that when the ice melts, it occupies the volume of water it displaced exactly, and the overall level of the water stays the same. Got that? The water level doesn't change when the ice melts!

Next time some smart-ass Global Warming dumdum is sitting in your living room ranting about sea level, give him the glass of water demonstration. Maybe that will shut him up. And don't be afraid to mention that icebergs, the seaward tongues of the glaciers from which the icebergs come, and the entire Arctic ice cap are all floating ice.

Scientists know floating ice doesn't affect sea level, and even the journalists know, but they simply cannot resist inserting Global Warming into their iceberg stories. It's like they enjoy keeping everybody worried. But with more and more people waking up to the climate scam, they've learned to be subtle. Here's the paragraph Fox News inserted into their article this week:
"Pine Island Glacier is of particular interest to scientists because it is big and unstable and so [it's] one of the largest sources of uncertainty in global sea level rise projections."
Except we know that floating glaciers can't affect sea level, so we don't share their "uncertainty," do we? Icebergs, no matter their size, are nothing more than great big ice cubes and whether they melt or stay frozen, water level stays the same.

That’s... just common sense.

"Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." – common proverb

"There's an old saying in Tennessee – I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once..... shame on... shame on you..... fool me you can't get fooled again." – President George W. Bush, in Tennessee, September 17, 2002

From Reno, Nevada, USA       

November 7, 2011 - Thanks JP I showed this to my uncle who hero-worships Al Gore it struck him dumb couldn't say a word against it. - Devin, Idaho

November 5, 2011 - Hey JP, You must have gotten the story about floating ice cubes displacing their volume of water in a glass from Rush Limbaugh. That, by the way is a scientific fact. However, if you add a chunk of ice to a glass full of water, it will overflow. (Try it if you don't believe it). Similarly, if a large chunk of ice breaks off from land, such as Greenland, Antarctica, etc., and falls into the ocean, it too will, however slightly, raise the level of water in the sea/ocean. This is more difficult for you to test than is the added ice cube to a full glass of water. However, the principle is the same, and this too is a scientific fact. Oh, never mind. Climate scientists universally believe in global warming and rising oceans. Actually, it's not universal. Scientists paid by oil companies, Rush Limbaugh, and you, believe it is a communist/socialist/ liberal/ main stream media plot. Reading your stuff is truly a crack-up, which coincidentally, is the subject this note. DJ, what is your day job? You can't really get paid for these nonsense missiles. You gotta be just another clever right wingnut with a keyboard and lots of free time, or we would see you on the Fox Noise Network. Whatever!!! Lter dude..... - Harvey L., Phoenix
J.P. replies: If giant chunks of ice hundreds of square miles in area broke off Greenland or the landmass of Anatarctic, that would indeed lead to a slight rise in sea level. (Very slight.) But that doesn't happen. It's physically impossible for a chunk of ice to levitate into the air and fly off to the ocean. Every time you see a story about a giant iceberg breaking off from an Antarctic glacier, it's ice that was already floating so sea level is unaffected. What's more, oftentimes mere days after the iceberg took off, the wind changes direction and the giant chunk blows right back where it came from and reattaches itself to the glacier. Glaciers moving to the ocean and then breaking into icebergs is a completely natural process that the Chicken Littles of Global Warming exploit for political purposes.

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