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The Ice Caps Will Melt Into the Aquifers
(Part of the How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic guide)
Even if the ice caps melt, the sea level won't rise that much because the melt water will be absorbed in the aquifers underneath.
What can I say?.
This is a ridiculous notion, both for making the assumption that no glaciologist or ice sheet expert or climatologist in general could not have thought of it themselves and for getting it so wrong that a minute adding up numbers could have saved some embarassment.
97% of the world's water is ocean, let's ignore it. 68.7% of the remaining fresh water is locked up in glaciers and ice caps, the vast majority in ice caps. 30% is currently groundwater. (See here.)
The total area of land on earth is about 148.3 million sq km. The antarctic is about 14 million, Greenland 2.2 million. So the portion of land under ice sheets is around 11% (easily googled)
So in short, for this theory (cough) to work we need one tenth of the land area on earth to absorb twice as much water as has been absorbed by all the other nine tenths together. It somehow does not seem to pass the sniff test.
Those calculation further assume that there is no ground water there already, which I don't know but I really doubt it. The bottom of the antarctic ice is only a couple of degrees below freezing due to geothermal heat and the insulating effect of thousands of metres of ice. Why wouldn't there be liquid water in the ground (which is bedrock btw)? And if it is too cold, why wouldn't any aquifers already be full of frozen water?
No, this theory is no Copernican Revolution, we should accept the calculations and warnings of the experts. If the greenland icesheet melts completely it will add ~7 metres, WAIS will add about 8 (it is already mostly below sealevel) the EAIS would add around 65m (see here)
Not that they will all melt anytime soon.
Labels: Sceptic Guide