IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

101: Melting Ice Shelves and Glaciers

Basic information you need to know.

You know, if you read, you can actually learn new information. Check out this article: “The Fuse Has Been Blown,’ and the Doomsday Glacier Is Coming for Us All.”

Many people poo-poo scientific studies, assumptions and predictions. How do we know what the situation will be in the year 2100? Actually, we don’t know, but people are trying to figure what is possible with melting ice and glaciers. My one grandson will be 100 years old in 2100, so even he might not see the final numbers.

That said, science is doing its best to help governments understand what they need to be prepared to deal with. It takes an uncommon elected leader to care about what happens to earth 74 years from when their term will end.

Each individual needs to be better informed and able to defend what they personally believe. Those “man on the street” interviews are telling when it comes to the depth of knowledge, or lack thereof, when it comes to almost any subject. A favorite quote I heard in 2021 was, “Don’t believe everything you think!”

I’m not a scientist and am just a consumer of information on most topics. What I do know is that hazards of all types, both natural and human-caused, are increasing. Understanding where those increasing risks are coming from is critically important, even if I’m not going to be around in 78 years.

With that, here is one key element from the article that I didn’t know before I read this:

“To be clear, there is a big difference between an ice shelf and the glacier itself. The ice shelf is like a thumbnail that grows out from the glacier and floats on the ocean. Because it is already floating, when it melts it doesn’t in itself contribute to sea level rise (just as when ice cubes melt in your glass, they don’t raise the level of liquid).

“But ice shelves are important because they buttress glaciers. Like the flying buttresses of Notre Dame, they give the walls of ice stability. And when they break up, the land-based glacier is free to flow much faster into the sea. And that does raise sea levels.”

Put another way, there is an interdependency between sea ice and glaciers.
Eric Holdeman is a nationally known emergency manager. He has worked in emergency management at the federal, state and local government levels. Today he serves as the Director, Center for Regional Disaster Resilience (CRDR), which is part of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER). The focus for his work there is engaging the public and private sectors to work collaboratively on issues of common interest, regionally and cross jurisdictionally.