Polar Freezers and the Global Warming


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My 'school atlas' and my grammar school 'geography' education had 'the continent of antarctica' as the 'fifth continent' and the arctic as a circular blob of white around the north pole of 'mainly sea ice'.
The atlas, which was far from new in 1972 the year it came to my notice, was done with the mercator projection.


Well-known member
The Arctic (public school education talking here) is supposed to be an actual land mass whereas the Antarctic is supposed to be one huge iceburg; no land under the ice. I wonder how they would know that unless it had been seen without ice in history's memory. Plus, there's all sorts of things supposedly being found in Antarctica that would had to have been floating buildings and such if there was no land mass for them to rest on.


Well-known member
My memory might be similar to yours here, Onthebit. What I remember of the 'north pole' is an icy continent like Antarctica but at the top of the maps rather than the bottom. It was depicted like a land mass iirc, and not what we see now on maps (a seasonal melting and re-freezing of an ocean: the Arctic Ocean). It was smaller than Antarctica, but they still showed it on maps and globes as an ice cap at the top of the world. I believe it may have even had a name: "Arctica".
This is what I vaguely remember, too! I remember learning about the first white explorers to reach the North Pole and plant a flag there. It would be kinda silly to put a flag in a chunk of ice that's going to break up and melt every season, but that must be what happened. :-/

Bald Eagle

Active member
Just some interesting information about the masses and energies and rates involved.

Basic Science: 4 Keys to Melt Fears About Ice Sheets Melting

Over 26 years, Antarctica’s average annual mass loss was less than 0.00040% of its total. If Antarctica were a 220 lb man, his mass loss each year would be 0.4 grams or about eight tears. (Eight human tears weigh about 0.4 g.) At this alarming rate that makes our most elite climate scientists worried, it would take 250,185 years to melt all of the ice. It would take over 1,000 years of melting to yield 12 inches of SLR from Antarctica if we ignore natural variability and the cyclical nature of ice volume and assume the melt rate continues uninterrupted.

Only aluminum, cobalt, and nickel seem to come anywhere near water - which has the highest latent heat of fusion.
Latent Heat of Melting for some common Materials

What other sources of power does humankind have that could be used to melt a significant amount of ice? The annual global energy production of electric power is 25 petawatt-hours (25×1015 Whr) or 9×1019 Joules. If we could, through some advanced technology, transfer all electric energy generated over one year to heaters buried in the ice, and do this with no transmission or distribution losses, then how much ice could we melt? The answer is 0.02 inches of SLR (equivalent to 4 human hair diameters). This scenario would require that humans not use any electric power for that entire year, for anything other than melting ice. Humanity would have to forego the benefits of electric power for over 146,000 years to melt all of the ice, assuming static conditions in the ice.
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