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3/5/16 – So how fast could there be a catastrophic collapse of the Greenland ice sheet? It could occur over as few as three years! During the oscillation of glacial and interglacial periods over the past 2.5 million years of the Pleistocene epoch (Ice Age), regular drastic collapses of enormous areas (millions of tons) of the Laurentide Ice Age ice sheet over North America occurred, called Heinrich events and Dansgaard–Oeschger cycles.
The Heinrich events occur every 7,000 years or so and only during the 100,000-year-long glacial periods. The D–O cycles occur about every 1,500 years during glacials and interglacials, like the one we’ve been in for 10,000 years (Holocene epoch), the entire time we’ve been agricultural or had civilization. There have been six major D–O cycles, known as Bond Events, during the last 10,000 years. We’re overdue for the next one.
It has been suggested that the Heinrich events are just super D–O cycles.
The Heinrich events are massive releases of armadas of giant icebergs that flow out of the Hudson Strait into the North Atlantic. They have been so big, and they caused such a cooling over the northern hemisphere (in what was already a cooled down glacial period), that there are gouge marks which still exist in France from the running aground of icebergs which didn’t fully melt as they crossed the entire North Atlantic!
But these icebergs calved from the collapsing ice sheet and melted over three years.
From this, glaciologist Doug MacAyeal “suggested that all ice sheets have their own instability times, thus the Scandinavian, Greenland and Icelandic ice sheets would have surges with different periodicities.”
Interestingly, even though the northern hemisphere cools rapidly during these events, the southern hemisphere warms! They call this the bipolar climate seesaw. Right now the northern hemisphere is stealing heat from the southern hemisphere to supply the Gulf Stream with heat. So, during Heinrich events, the cooling northern hemisphere stops this inter-hemispheric heat piracy, and the heat remains in the southern hemisphere building up and rising temperatures over and around Antarctica.
“This can be explained by alternating ice sheet collapse (!) and resultant meltwater surges in the North Atlantic and Southern oceans [e.g. the precariously-perched on islands West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) collapses–it could bring another 20 feet of global sea-level increase–in alternation with the Laurentide Heimlich event collapses].”
This is why I rarely say global warming. I say climate destabilization. That, of course, brings about global ecosystem destabilization in the oceans and over the land, putting all ecosystems at risk of systemic collapse. At these times, if you were in Antarctica you would think you were experiencing global warming, while the northern hemisphere was suddenly dropping 3 to 6 degrees C (5-11 degrees F)!
The rapid collapse of Laurentide occurs because at a certain point, as it expands, “the geothermal heat from within the earth’s crust, together with heat released from the friction of ice moving over ice, was trapped by the insulating effect of the overlying ice” (‘duvet’ effect). This warmed the underlying previously frozen sediment supporting the ice sheet up to that point, and that undermined the eastern periphery of the ice sheet. The coldest the ocean can get is 29 degrees F. The base of the ice sheet is usually colder than –22 degrees F. So from this point on everything collapses very, very, very fast!
So as you look at this map of Greenland without its ice cover, notice that the land of the entire country is only a C-shaped ring with a giant basin in the center. There is a lot of geothermal heat under the Greenland ice sheet. Notice too, the extraordinarily large pit in the ocean floor at the mouth of this basin. It’s called Baffin Hollow and is 7,000-feet deep. I imagine it was caused by one of the biggest waterfalls in earth’s history from the rapid melting of so much ice when sea levels were low.
During my 2012 Congressional campaign, I warned every night that 50% of Greenland’s ice sheet was melting. A month after the June 2012 primary, 97% of Greenland’s ice sheet was melting! This surface melt forms great fissures and the meltwater cascades down to the base of this mile or more thick ice sheet causing a slip-and-slide effect accelerating the outward flow of giant ice streams into the ocean.
When the whole ice sheet is gone, it alone will cause 20 feet of global sea-level increase.
Since I have the only political campaign in the world to deal with this, isn’t it time you made a contribution to my Congressional campaign? Not a single Congressman, nor any other politician on earth knows any of this. Yet. But they could. That’s one reason why it is so critical that you send me there this year. The election is 3 ½ months from now. Please think about your kids and grandkids, Venice, the Everglades, and everything else you have ever loved. It will all be gone when this collapse happens. We don’t need to speed it up so it happens during our lives. The only way to stop it is to bring a hell-storm into Congress over it. That’s me.
Please contribute or mail your contribution or drop by the office. That’s at Andy Caffrey, P.O. Box 324, Redway, CA 95560
Thanks! Let’s get going! Spread the word to everyone you know, at least to the humans…
Quotes are from The Complete Ice Age: How Climate Change Shaped the World, edited by Brian Fagan.