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(Scientists have said that all the ice in the north pole will be gone by the end of this summer) Will the ice melting this summer cause global flooding, will if affect the ice covering greenland, and will it affect the North Atlantic Current?
Question Date: 2008-07-21
Answer 1:

Scientists have stated that there is a good possibility that all of the Arctic sea ice will melt this summer. It is important to note the difference between sea ice and glaciers. Sea ice is frozen sea water floating in the ocean. Glaciers store frozen freshwater on land and contain much greater volumes of water than does sea ice.

One study concluded that the melting of all of Earth's sea ice would cause a sea level rise of approximately 4 centimeters. So yes, there will be a slight sea level rise due to the melting of the Arctic sea ice, but it won't cause global flooding because there isn't a huge volume of sea ice to melt. Changes to the formation of North Atlantic Deep Water are caused by changes in temperature and salinity. It is unlikely that the melting of sea ice would be capable of directly causing any changes to this current because the melted sea ice is just sea water.

However, there is still a very scary side to the melting of the sea ice and the problems it would indirectly cause. Sea ice is normally covered in snow, which is a very reflective surface. When sunlight hits the snow-covered sea ice, it is reflected back out to space. When sea ice melts, there is less snow to reflect the sun's energy. Instead, the dark-colored ocean water absorbs the energy, and the Earth warms. Without the reflective sea ice in the Arctic, the Earth will warm further. As it does, glaciers (including those in Greenland) will melt. There is a huge volume of water stored in Earth's glaciers that will be transferred to the ocean in a warming climate. For example, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) predicts a 6.5-meter sea level rise if the entire Greenland ice sheet melts. That would cause major global flooding (and much of Goleta and Santa Barbara would be wiped out.) The addition of a large volume of freshwater into the ocean would also affect ocean currents, which work to distribute heat around the Earth. Today, cold, dense sea water sinks near Greenland, but with a large input of less-dense freshwater, perhaps the location or rate of sinking of this current would change.

Answer 2:

You have asked a very interesting question about the effect of melting ice on the currents and sea levels in the world.There are actually many different opinions and predictions among scientists in this field. The melting of polar ice will certainly affect the North Atlantic current, but there are several articles that have different views on how exactly the current will change and the consequences that will result. The climate change that is melting the ice at the North Pole is also melting the ice sheets of Greenland. Ice melting, including in the North Pole and Antarctica and other places, will also cause an increase in sea level throughout the whole world. This could be called flooding, although it will happen slower than you think of a flood occurring.

There are many news articles about the melting of the North Pole. If you go to the library and ask for help Im sure you could find a lot of facts and predictions relating to your question about melting ice.

Answer 3:

No, because of Archimedes' Law: a floating body displaces its weight, while a sinking body displaces its volume. The North Pole is over the Arctic Ocean, so ice that covers the North Pole is floating in the ocean. Therefore it ALREADY displaces an amount of seawater equal to its weight. As the ice melts, it becomes seawater, but its weight doesn't change (although it does become denser, which is why ice floats). As a result, the total of "weight" of water remains the same. Thus, sea-level does not change.

The Arctic sea ice is also too far north to have much of an effect on the North Atlantic Current. The Greenland ice cap on the other hand...

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