In his letter to the editor on July 18, Gary Kibbe (“‘Climate change’ sham”) displayed his abysmal ignorance about climate change.
First he states, “If you fill a glass of water with ice and let it come to room temperature, the level of the water will not rise.” This analogy has nothing to do with global warming. The ice that is melting is not in the oceans, it is on the land. A more correct analogy would be, “If you fill a glass with water, place a strainer full of ice above it and let it come to room temperature, the glass of water will overflow.”
Second, he says, “Answer me this: Why would Al Gore buy a home on the ocean if he truly thought the oceans would rise?” The answer is that Gore’s house in Montecito is hundreds of feet above the ocean and global warming is expected to result in a rise of a few feet.
Talking about water
In Gary Kibbe’s letter (“‘Climate change’ sham,” July 18), Kibbe pronounces that he can “provide the answers to those most important issues quite easily.” Oh, if life could only be that simple.
Kibbe says, “if you fill a glass of water with ice and let it come to room temperature, the level of the water will not rise.” This is true for a glass of freshwater, but he appears to use this argument for a saltwater situation.
According to Archimedes’ principle, buoyancy equals the weight of the displaced freshwater, so the upward buoyant force equals the downward weight of the ice. In the freshwater case, both are of the same composition, so the volume of freshwater displaced by the ice equals the volume of the melted freshwater ice, resulting in no net change in volume.
However, if we look at the more relevant saltwater situation, the saltwater and its floating freshwater ice are different compositions. Freshwater is not as dense as saltwater, so liquid freshwater actually has a greater volume than an equal weight of liquid saltwater.
Therefore, when freshwater ice melts into the saltwater ocean, it contributes a greater volume of water than it originally displaced. There is a net rise when freshwater ice melts in surrounding saltwater.
Climate change is real
Contrary to what Gary Kibbe claims in his letter to the editor (“‘Climate change’ sham,” July 18), climate change is not a sham. As The Tribune notes in an editorial on the same page, it’s happening. Denial will not make it go away.
I agree with him that we need to conserve water, but that’s only part of it.
He says, “If you fill a glass of water with ice and let it come to room temperature, the level of the water will not rise.” I assume he’s implying that melting glaciers will not cause a rise in water level. That only applies to free-floating ice.
Melting land-based glaciers will certainly cause a sea level rise. And his comment, “It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter,” is terribly simplistic. Overall temperature is slowly rising, faster than ecosystems and forms of life can adapt.
The number-one factor behind climate change, the elephant in the room, is the burgeoning human population. This planet simply cannot support this many people.
That’s not to say that we should spread out among other planets, at least not until we learn to take proper care of this one.
A reply to the ‘scam’
To those who decry spending money on the “scam” of global warming, I would reply that yes, wouldn’t it be unfortunate if we reduced our dependence on foreign oil, conserved our dwindling petroleum reserves, lowered electricity bills through renewable energy, decreased respiratory diseases caused by coal-burning power plants and paid less to fill the tanks in our more efficient cars!