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Trump's Election Shenanigans Pale before the Threats from Melting Polar Glaciers and Ice Sheets

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Message Arshad M Khan

Despite Joe Biden exceeding the magic number of 270 that guarantees a majority in the electoral college, President Donald Trump has not conceded. Does he have a plan to overturn the wishes of the electorate?

According to Trump he did not lose, he was cheated out of a legitimate win by voter fraud and ballot stuffing. Accordingly, he has filed lawsuits in those critical states with narrow margins of victory for Biden -- so far without tangible success -- to block certification of the vote and persuade Republican legislatures to overturn the state vote as fraudulent and award the electoral votes to him.

Trump's window of action is narrowing. A major target state was Michigan with 20 electoral votes. However, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer has now certified Biden's victory meaning he should get its electoral votes.

While Trump's shenanigans continue, the world faces a real danger of melting ice sheets and glaciers. A long term denier of global warming, Mr. Trump now accepts it but believes the earth will right itself without any effort by humans.

Scientists meanwhile are particularly concerned with the Florida-sized Thwaites glacier in the Antarctic. Its collapse they fear could destabilize surrounding glaciers eventually causing catastrophic global sea level rises measured not in inches but feet.

The glacier rises 60 to 75 feet above water across its 75 mile face. Remembering that 90 percent of it is under gives some notion of the quantity of ice. The Nathaniel B. Palmer research vessel is conducting a survey this winter for the first time as part of a five-year international research program to learn just how fast the glacier is melting and how much it might be adding to rising seas.

The problem is the shape of the glacier under the water and the warming waters eating away that core while the ice on top gets thicker and thicker as the glacier retreats inland. At some point the glacier is likely to collapse of its own weight into the ocean. Scientists who have modeled the scenario fear the process is unstoppable once it starts. Worse it puts much of the West Antarctic ice sheet at risk of following it into the sea. Any wonder then that Thwaites is also known as the Doomsday glacier.

At the other pole the Greenland ice sheet had a record-breaking 2019, shedding the most ice since 1948 -- an estimated 532 billion tons. It of course increases coastal flooding along the eastern seaboard particularly the Carolinas and Florida. Fortunately for the residents, the 2020 melt from Greenland, while well above the 1981 to 2010 average, was lower than recent years particularly 2019.

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Arshad M Khan is a former Professor. Educated at King's College London, Oklahoma State University and the University of Chicago, he has a multidisciplinary background that has frequently informed his research. He was elected a Fellow of the (more...)
 
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