Would you like some ice with your drink?

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There has been some concern expressed at the size of the recent Ice Island that has broken free from the Ross Ice Shelf. This island measuring 295 km long by 37 km wide has a total area of around 11000 square km, or as some have described it "Twice the size of Delaware".

When you put this in perspective of the Ross Ice Shelf though, it is a mere sliver of the total volume that the Ice Shelf must shed from time to time. The Ross is a massive floating glacier that is fed from the highlands of Antartica. It is 980 km wide at the mouth, and 840 km long to the point where it is fed by a large number of tributary glaciers. This outline map of Antartica shows just how large the ice shelf is.

Like all glaciers, the Ross is moving. The highest speeds are at the steepest slopes, or where the ice is being warmed by the ocean. A graphical representation of the ice velocity can be seen here. The speed of the ice movement varies from 600 m/yr at the Eastern end (bottom left in the picture) to over 1000 m/yr in the center. The average velocity at the ice cliff face is close to 800 m/yr. This means that just to maintain equilibrium the ice face must shed an average of almost 800 square km of ice per year. On this basis the recent ice island to break off represents around 13 years growth of ice. There are small slabs falling off all the time, but every now and then a large one must break free. There was an even larger one (13600 square km) in 1973.

This image map dated 1996 shows quite clearly that the ice island was preparing to break off as much as 4 years ago. Look at the bottom left corner of the image map, near the arrow head, and the pressure ridge is very clear.

So this lump of ice is not an unusual event in terms of Antartic geology, its just that we don't often have a chance to see events like this as they occur.

-- Malcolm Taylor (taylorm@es.co.nz), March 26, 2000


The other thread on this subject has two links with bad HTML, so I'm copying all replies from that thread to this one.

-- Malcolm Taylor (taylorm@es.co.nz), March 27, 2000.

That's not the same ice island Malcolm. Why are you trying to spread disinformation? Aren't you the guy that works for some kind of power plant or something? Like the kind that spews trillions of tons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere? You wouldn't by any chance have any financial interest in this organization would you?

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), March 27, 2000.

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Hawk: Looks like the ice island I've seen in the news. Why don't you provide us with a link that shows your ice island?

Yep, Malcolm works at some power station. Unfortunately for your hypothesis, it's in New Zealand and the vast majority of the electrical power is produced by hydro, not fossil fuel.

Care to stick your other foot in your mouth next?

-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), March 27, 2000.

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Hey Jim, how come you're such an asshole?? Were you beaten as a child or something? Sure, I'll stick my other foot in my mouth as soon as you get your head out of your ass. Did you notice the question marks at the end of my statements to Malcolm? That means I was asking him a question dipshit, not stating it as a fact.

The picture of the island that just broke off is on this thread...


Anyone who knows how to read a map can see that it isn't the same. Of course I'm not expecting you to understand, just keep shooting off your stupid ass mouth like the useless critic that you always are.

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), March 27, 2000.

-- Malcolm Taylor (taylorm@es.co.nz), March 27, 2000.

Yes Hawk,

I do work for a group of power stations. Hydro power stations. We use water, and we discharge water. And that is one of the reasons that I am so interested in climatology and hydrology. Without a regular rainfall and seasonal snowfall accumulation and melt, I would be out of a job. Also you are right, I do have a financial interest in the company, but somhow I don't believe that $1500 worth of shares in a $2.5 billion company would be any great incentive to place any false spin on the worlds climate.

-- Malcolm Taylor (taylorm@es.co.nz), March 27, 2000.

Hawk, It is the same ice island.

Just how many ice islands that large do you think are breaking away from the Ross Ice shelf this week?

-- Malcolm Taylor (taylorm@es.co.nz), March 27, 2000.

Malcom, do you know how to read a map scale? It's actually quite simple. :-)

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), March 27, 2000.


Yes, I do know how to read a map. What would like to know about it?

-- Malcolm Taylor (taylorm@es.co.nz), March 27, 2000.

I said map SCALE, not map.

Take a closer look...

The Ice island that just broke off is as long as the length of the scale in the upper right corner, you even said so yourself. The one you are refering to is only a baby, about 1/3 as big. There are lots of those breaking off. The exceptionally large one is breaking off because the oceans are getting warmer, a result of global warming.

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), March 27, 2000.


If you are still in doubt about whether or not it is the same ice island, then try this link for an accurate satellite map of the entire continent. You can resize and scale the map to bring up the detail to whatever scale you would like. If you can find another ice island then just point it out to me.

The other way to determine if it is the same one is to look at the link that you provided. The ice island in your link is 170W 78S. Check with any geographic map and you will find that that location is right at the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, very close to Ross Island. Have another look at he links I have provided, and you can see that it is exactly the same location.

-- Malcolm Taylor (taylorm@es.co.nz), March 27, 2000.

Malcolm, sorry but you're wrong.

See these images...


These are inverted from the images you've linked to, as referenced by the direction of the north arrrow and the outlines of the "Roosevelt Island" area which can be clearly seen in your links as well. If you are looking at the image I posted above in this thread, the new iceberg has broken off of the area just directly below the large yellow box, and runs almost the entire length of the Ross Shelf edge. There were no cracks visible in this 1996 photo because it occurred very rapidly, another indication of how quickly these changes are occurring in the water temperature. This iceberg was not a result of the weight of the pack, but an actual thawing of the ice near the water level.

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), March 27, 2000.


I really don't se what we are arguing about. It is the same lump of ice that we are discussing. Just check the co-orinates. Also check what I said about the 1996 image, I didn't say cracks were visible, I said that the pressure ridges were starting to become obvious even then. When the ice does finally break loose it will enerally do so at a point where there is a flaw and a pressure ridge is a definite flaw.

As for it running nearly the entire length of the ice shelf, that would make it closer to 1000km long rather than 300 km. So we are not really at odds over where the island is, or how big it is, but where our real disagreement comes is on the cause.

Have a look at the velocity map and then see what explanation you have for the increase in ice speed as it approaches the sea face. Of course it is being warmed and eroded by the ocean. It always has happened this way and is no indication of global warming.

-- Malcolm Taylor (taylorm@es.co.nz), March 27, 2000.

Malcom, most all of us knew this shelf was beginning to break off 4 years ago. In fact anyone caring to listen has heard about global warming for many years; the 80s and 90s were some of the hottest years on record. And as far as which ice shelf are we talking about. What does it matter? The point is, the climate is changing. All reputable scientists agree on this; reputable meaning, not having theirr research financed by big oil, timber, mining, agriculture, chemicals, etc. That's why corporations are so fond of hitting people with SLAPPs (Stragetic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.) These suits are designed by big corporations to shut the public the hell up. They are not meant to be won, they are meant to intimidate.

Some scientists say we may be headed for an ice age. Some say we may be headed for global warming. But the point is, any 10 year old child, watching Discovery or reading National Geographic knows that. Not all of it can be blamed on La Nina' . Of course the polluting industries are trying to put their best spin on it so they can rake in the mega-bucks benefitting the top 1% of the population.

Also, what if global warming and the melting of the ice shelfs, are just a naturally occurring event? That doesn't mean we have to go whole-hog to exacerbate the problem.

Hawk, I'm with you on this, and your language doesn't bother me one damn bit. I can handle swearing, blackguarding, sarcasm, bad spelling, bad grammar, bad syntax, bad punctuation, bad typing, etc., but I get ruffled at pious pedants, or grammar gurus.

Jim, your high moral stance, concerning "naughty words,"doesn't enhance your argument one bit. Also, most times a person is saying, "oh this is not an unusual event," you can bet your biffy they work somewhere within a polluting industry. I'm not saying this is the case with Malcom, but it's a logical conclusion.

-- gilda (jess@listbot.com), March 27, 2000.

(deleted other broken thread as per Malcom's request, reposted Gilda's reply here. OTFR)

-- Old TB2K Forum Regular (freespeech@yahoo.com), March 27, 2000.


My "high moral stance" was gentle jibe at Hawk for his continuing use of personal attacks rather than addressing the issue. I don't mind swearing either, as I do enough of it myself, but I do mind attacks on my mother and my family life.

Using your logic, it is a "logical conclusion" that you are working in some industry that stands to profit from making people believe that global warming is real. I have no way of knowing if this is true so I wouldn't accuse of this. Hawk's accusation against Malcolm was even more egregious since he well knew that Malcolm worked in the power industry in New Zealand and knows that New Zealand generates nearly all its power from water.

The easiest thing to do is attack the character of the person making a statement rather than the substance. This is Hawk's typical response and it seems that you agree with that tactic.

-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), March 27, 2000.


You're the one making "personal attacks" you jerk! I did NOT know that Malcolm works at a hydro power plant, and how dare you put words in my mouth. I was ASKING those questions, not attacking his character. Turns out he DOES have investments in the business, which might influence his decision to dispel any evidence of global warming.

As for us "profiting" from facing the reality of global warming, don't you think EVERYONE will profit from having less pollution in our air? At least in terms of health they would, and health is more important than money. When I see a thread like this I have to ask myself what is to be gained by this. Do you and Malcolm think it is a good idea to continue to pollute the atmosphere?

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), March 27, 2000.


You have been on TB2000 for a long time. Malcolm has been on TB2000 for a long time. Malcolm has talked about the power industry in New Zealand for a long time. If you never noticed that the power comes from hydro then I guess I gave you more credit than you deserved. And how does a $1500 investment in the hydro power company he works for have anything to do with global warming?

The issue is not whether or not pollution is bad. The issue is if global warming exists and, if so, is it being caused by man or part of natural cycle? I've seen evidence for both sides but I'm convinced of neither. You, on the other hand, apparently have already decided.

-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), March 27, 2000.

Jim -- and, of course, Hawk's traditional ranting (while both expected and amusing) sort of misses the point of the original post -- whether you believe Malcolm or not, his point was that glaciers by definition move down to the sea and break off, that this new, large berg is nothing exceptional, and that it attributes for only about 13 years of ice accumulation.

Like you, I've seen evidence on both sides of the global warming debate; I remain undecided. But, the global warming doomers seem to have taken a page from the Y2K doomer playbook -- any unusual weather event must, by definition, be caused by human induced global warming and anyone who disagrees is ignorant, a shill, or part of a guvmit coverup.

-- E.H. Porter (Just Wondering@About.it), March 27, 2000.

So, what If I'm wrong? What is the point of trying to prove that this iceberg could be part of a normal pattern? Are you trying to encourage people to dump more pollutants into our air just because we may not have evidence that it is screwing up the planet? What about our health?

If I am wrong, then we are not in danger from global warming, but we still have one hell of a toxice atmosphere problem. If I am right, but global warming is still ignored, then we're ALL doomed.

Talk about non-constructive behavior, sheeesh! What's the point of all this?

The odds are in your favor that you could leave your car doors unlocked when you go to the store, and your car would not be stolen, but I'll bet most people still lock their car doors. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), March 27, 2000.

As I understand it, evidence over the last decade indicates a global warming trend. Whether this is long-term is unknown. Exact causes are unknown. Human pollutant contribution to this trend is plausible, but significance of human contribution unknown. The Ross Shelf iceberg is a normal periodic phenomenon. Whether calving is accelerating is beyond our current tools and data to determine.

Other effects of human-induced (not volcanic or other) pollutants seem fairly clear. Acid rain for example. The ocean and fresh water are both increasingly showing increases in unnatural pollutants fairly easily traceable to human activity. Some phenomena like the accelerated dieoff of coral reefs seem at least partially due to human activity, but the returns (as always) aren't all in yet.

But I don't see the utility of complaining about human waste without suggesting some feasible method of ameliorating it whose total costs don't exceed the cost of the waste itself. I don't have one.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), March 27, 2000.

Hawk said:

"....If I am right, but global warming is still ignored, then we're ALL doomed."

You are probably wrong on 2 accounts there Hawky.

1) You are never right

2) If global warming is part of the earth's natural climate cycles, how are we all doomed?? Surely it has happened before, so why are you here? Even if global warming is being caused by greenhouse gases, steps are already being taken to reduce emissions.

-- Mr. Sane (hhh@home.com), March 27, 2000.

Hawk -- that's the beauty of Global Warming. No matter what happens, we're not ALL doomed.

I'm in Minnesota. The ocean will have to rise a long way to cause us problems here. Plus, most predictions I've seen suggest that most of the state would benefit from a warming trend (the exception, perhaps, being the Western Prairie areas). Throw in a little extra CO2 to keep them crops growning, and you've just got a little future paradise here in the midwest.

Buy now, before the prices go up (and the eastern seaboard goes underwater)!

-- E.H. Porter (Just Wondering@About.it), March 27, 2000.

Oh, and Hawk -- my understading is that most pollutants are not "greenhouse gases," and don't contribute much to global warming. My understanding is that CO2 (which plants are quite happy with) and Methane (the "cow fart" debate) are two of the biggest contributors.

But, I could be wrong on this; correction from someone with actual knowledge on the subject is always appreciated.

-- E.H. Porter (Just Wondering@About.it), March 27, 2000.

"that's the beauty of Global Warming. No matter what happens, we're not ALL doomed."

Oh, you know this for a fact? How do you know that this isn't what killed the dinosaurs? Humans are a lot more sensitive to climactic changes than most other species.

Have you lived through another industrial revolution in an alternate universe or something? To my knowledge, there is no historical precedent for the type of industrial and transportation pollution that we have been producing over the last 50 years. Remember Barney Rubble? Even he was smart enough to use his feet to make the car go! Lol!!

"My understanding is that CO2 (which plants are quite happy with)"

True, very true.

Problem is that they are only absorbing about 15% of the total CO2 emissions produced in the U.S., and even less in other countries.

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), March 27, 2000.


You asked "Do you and Malcolm think it is a good idea to continue to pollute the atmosphere?"

I believe that this is a totally separate issue to the questions associated with global warming. However to answer it. I do not believe that it is a good idea to continue to pollute the atmosphere. If only it were possible, I would like to see reductions in fossil fuel usage to be implemented immediately. I would like all atmospheric emmissions to be limited to steam and/or those gasses that occur naturally in the environment. I would like all discharges into rivers and oceans to be clear, potable water. However, as long as industry is more concerned with money than with the environment, then we will continue to see the big industrial nations polluting our planet.

-- Malcolm Taylor (taylorm@es.co.nz), March 27, 2000.

This is what hawk said in his latest piece of crap:

"that's the beauty of Global Warming. No matter what happens, we're not ALL doomed." Oh, you know this for a fact? How do you know that this isn't what killed the dinosaurs? Humans are a lot more sensitive to climactic changes than most other species.

You really are a little child. Isn't cooling more likely to affect reptiles? From what I've seen, dinosaurs were flourishing in times of higher average temperatures than what we have now. Anyway it is pretty well accepted that a catastrophic event caused the demise of dinosaurs. Mammals for some reason carried on.

Why are humans a lot more sensitive to climatic change than most other species?? I haven't noticed many other species whose individuals have engineering and science degrees. Give us humans more credit than that for god's sake.

Or maybe you aren't human? In fact what planet are you from?

-- Mr. Sane (hhh@home.com), March 27, 2000.

Malcolm -- and, of course, there are trade offs with everything, including hydro power. Think of what a wonderful place Te Anua on the South Island would be if it weren't on a hydro damed lake and were still natural. Or, in the US, consider the questions about hydro dams in the Northwest versus the survival of a healthy salmon population.

Not being critical of you or NZ; like what you've done so far with power generation. (although when I was last there in mid-1998, I thought the Great Aucklund Power Outage was sort of interesting) One of my hobbies is whitewater kayaking, however, so that predisposes me to the "free rivers" movement. And, of course, the Whanganui River has got to be one of the most excellent "fast water" trips I've ever done.

There are a number of times and places in which I'd trade a litte extra CO2 in the atmosphere for the destruction of a hydro dam. As I say -- no critizism intended; it's all a high wire balancing act. But, we should never forget that there are trade offs involved in everything, including hydro.

-- E.H. Porter (Just Wondering@About.it), March 27, 2000.


"However, as long as industry is more concerned with money than with the environment, then we will continue to see the big industrial nations polluting our planet."

I agree with your comments, but there is something else to consider. Who supports industry by buying their products? Isn't it really up to all of us what industry does, since we are their customers? They are concerned with making money, but what would happen if we told them we would refuse to support them until they "clean up their act"? They could and would find another way.

Mr. Insane,

You're really not even worthy of a response, but this one was too funny to pass up...

"Why are humans a lot more sensitive to climatic change than most other species?? I haven't noticed many other species whose individuals have engineering and science degrees."

Lol!! You think that a college degree is going to help the human race survive 200 degree surface temperatures, vaporization of the oceans, and destruction of all crops? How about an ice age? Gee I guess if you're real smart you could build a fire that would last forever right, and just dig a hole through a 5 mile thick glacier to go ice fishing! Talk about a little child! Come back and talk to me in 10 years when you finish high school... lol!!

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), March 27, 2000.

Hawk -- actually, I believe that humans did survive the last ice age. Regarding the rest of your commentary; no idea.

-- E.H. Porter (Just Wondering@About.it), March 27, 2000.

E.H. Porter,

I'm pleased to hear that you enjoyed N.Z and the white water kayaking. New Zealand has learnt a lot over the years with the development of its hydro resources, and hence the more recent trends have been that where hydro power stations are built that the environment is left as natural as possible.

The two places you mention are examples of our learning process. Lake Te Anau does have a control structure on its outlet, but it is a natural lake (as opposed to being man made behind a dam), and the operating rules set down for it mean that its level, fluctuations and foreshores are maintained as close to natural as possible. The next lake in the chain, Manapouri, is the one that really got New Zealand onto the environmental band wagon. When it was raised for power generation the New Zealand people saw for the first time just how damaging hydro dams can be if not designed and managed correctly.

The Whanganui River is a prime example of a river that can be used for power generation without causing any significant change to the environment at all. Its water has been used for a major power station since 1976, yet most people who use the river for kayaking are completely unaware of that fact.

Another example is the Hawea River in the South Island which was dammed before recreational issues were considered important. We now have planned water releases specifically for kayaking, and we manage the amount of water over the various sections to ensure that there are lower flows for the slalom course, or higher flows for the white water enthusiasts.

New hydro developments must take these recreational issues, (and also other enviromental neccessities like fish migration) into consideration right at the design stage.

Next time you intend coming over let me know and I'll try and organise a trip on the Kawarau for you. Now that IS exciting.

-- Malcolm Taylor (taylorm@es.co.nz), March 27, 2000.

Malcolm-- thanks for the response. You kiwis are unquestionably a good lot. Only thing I don't like about NZ -- it costs and arm and a leg to get there from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

-- E.H. Porter (Just Wondering@About.it), March 28, 2000.

Personally, I'm hoping for global cooling. It's so damn hot here, I"ve have my air conditioning on all day!

Sweatin' in the desert...

-- (Ladylogic@...), March 28, 2000.

Wait a minute, that response was too glib.

I'm sitting here wondering if you guys even gave a damn about global warming/cooling before Y2k.

If you did, please continue to waste your time with something you can do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT.

If not, would you please be kind enough to tell me how Y2k made you think about things that are irrelevant in most people's lives?

Thanks for now. It's late and I have to go to bed.


-- (Ladylogic@...), March 28, 2000.

Malcolm and E.H.,

Here in California there is serious consideration being given to taking down some hydro dams for environmental purposes. With all the improvements in turbine and generator efficiency, we actually have a surplus of hydro capacity so abandoning some of the older, less efficient facilities makes sense from both an economic and environmental point of view. I'm a white water rafter and even though I make part of my living from hydro systems, I'm glad to see some of this happening.


Unfortunately, reducing emissions into the atmosphere has costs, both monetary and social. These costs tend to fall most heavily on the lesser developed countries and the poor of all countries. That's why I'm reluctant to see us take any action without a clear understanding of the cause and the cost.

-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), March 28, 2000.

Hawk, you complete and utter fool, where did 200 degrees come from???? Out of your ass?

I was trying to say that the human race has the capability to come up with viable solutions to adapt to global warming.

You are talking about something else with this 200 degree scenario. But that's ok, it's about average for you to post completely ridiculous shit.

-- Mr. Sane (hhh@home.com), March 28, 2000.


Why would the costs fall on the less developed countries? How many Ethiopians do you know that drive Cadillacs?

The more developed countries are the ones with all the factories and automobiles, that's why they call them "more developed". They are also known as the "industrialized nations". The United States is the worst of the lot. We have 4% of the total world population, yet we produce something like 25-30% of the world's pollution. In other words, we are pigs.

To tell you the truth, it isn't the sea level or extreme weather that I'm worried about, it's the increasing cancer rates at lower age levels. We're starting to see lots of people dying of cancer in their 40's and 50's because they have been living near freeways and factories breathing poisonous gases their whole life.

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), March 28, 2000.

Mr. Insane,

"Hawk, you complete and utter fool, where did 200 degrees come from???? Out of your ass?"

Yes, I just went to the toilet where I blew my butt plug, and out came a scorching 200 degree blast of methane. Then this big green and brown thing came out, and it looked just like you. I named it Mr. Insane. Then I said.. "goodnight Mr. Insane", and I flushed you down the whirlpool to join your friends in the cesspools. That's where you will be happiest, because you will be fulfilling your purpose in life. BTW, have you seen buttnugget down there? :-)

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), March 28, 2000.

...In other words, we are pigs. -- Hawk

That's Capitalist Pigs, Sir. LOL

-- So the commies say (LOL@aint.we.funny), March 28, 2000.


The costs of cleaner manufacturing and production always fall the hardest on the least developed countries. Industrialized nations have already developed economies of scale and efficiency that allow then to absorb pollution control costs and still produce competitive products. Less developed countries that are trying to raise their standard of living by industrialization don't have these advantages. In essence, we are telling the Ethiopias of the world that they can't develop any further because of....take your pick, global warming, the coming ice age, whatever. I'd like to know the actual cause of the problems before we start basing policy on the outcome.

-- Jim Cooke (JJCooke@yahoo.com), March 28, 2000.

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