Disappearing Land Global Warming and the Polar Ice Caps

About the disappearing land that results from global warming of the polar ice caps.

THE DISAPPEARING LAND

The area of the Pacific Ocean alone is actually 25% larger than that of all the land surfaces of the world taken together.

One of the reasons why the land and the sea level approach each other more and more is because land is washed into the sea by rivers.

Taking the average height of the U.S. above sea level as 800 meters (2,600 ft.) and putting the rate of erosion at 6.3 centimeters (2.5 in.) in 1,000 years, the volume of the U.S. above sea level will be washed into the ocean within 12 million years; this is only something like one tenth of the period of time since mammals appeared on our planet.

Another cause of the gradual disappearance of land is that for a good half-century the chimneys of our factories and of an increasing number of our houses have been pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, so the proportion of it in the atmosphere has increased appreciably from its 19th-century value of 0.029%. In fact, the increase since 1900 is estimated at 12%, that is, between 0.003 and 0.004% of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Since carbon dioxide in the atmosphere slows down the heat loss from the earth by radiation, the average temperature at the surface of our planet has risen in the same period by 1.1C. If things continue as they are for 1,000 years, tropical or subtropical climates will prevail over the whole surface of the earth; the polar ice caps will melt, and all land now within a few meters of sea level will be engulfed.

Western Europe is already subsiding at the rate of 2.5 centimeters (1 in.) every 10 years. If this continues, the top of the Eiffel Tower will become a small island in the Atlantic in roughly 200,000 years.

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