Sunday, March 20, 2011

Melting Icebergs

Melting Icebergs Experiment

The experiment we did in the lab “Melting Icebergs,” shows what would happen if the ice at the North Pole melted.  The ice at the North Pole is floating on water so it has already displaced the volume of the ice in the ocean.  If the ice melted, the oceans would not rise. 

On the other hand, the ice at the South Pole covers Antarctica.  If that ice melts it will cause ocean levels to rise.  Scientists believe that Antarctica is covered with about 90% of Earth’s ice which, if melted, could cause the oceans to rise about 200 feet.  Since the average temperature in Antarctica is -37°, most scientists believe that this meltdown will not occur.

If I were doing this experiment with my students I would certainly expect them to spend time researching both sides of the global warming issue.  Although most scientists agree that the atmosphere is warming, they do not all agree on the cause.  A look at ancient climates might be valuable to determine how shifts in climate have occurred in the past.

The other question I would ask my students is, how can we perform a second experiment to model what would happen if the South Pole ice cap melted.

I have had a bad health week so I am signing off for now!  Have a good week!


  1. Marconi!

    I do appreciate the scientific facts you have reiterate.I will also like to mention Terrell (2010) in her "Article Are the Ice Caps Melting? " The entire polar ice cap... could be completely ice free within the next five to seven year."So claimed Al Gore.

    Oceanographer Jane Eert attributes much of it to shifting winds she blames on climate change.She says the winds have exported enormous amount of ice from the area yet she made the amazing assertion: The Guys who are running the long term climate models have a tough problem.They're looking at really long time scales, and as a result they can't look at lots of details for each year.In order to get the results before you die you have to fudge some things.And what they fudge is the small scale stuff.But it turns out that the small scale stuff is important but fudging it give you wrong answers.

    My concern is that i appreciate the level of inquiry but does the inquiry approach works?

  2. I agree that students need to look at both sides of the issue as there is not 100% agreement on the causes of global warming. The PBS video on the disappearing glaciers alarmed me some and made me sad to think I could be here to see the disappearance of those glaciers, especially living so close to one that seems to be retreating as well. But, is it truly a man made problem or a natural phenomenon?