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Sea level rise due to erosion (of land and reason)

old brands resting

It is not hard to see that I am allergic to some kinds of self-evidences.

Why and why only to some of them?

Self-evidences

Human evolution and civilization rest on the ability, to internalize certain concepts (memes) as given. Should we not be able to take a vast majority of sensations as concepts understood in advance, we would have to reason about all details about each percept; that would prevent us from any action. We do not think about a lion in front of us. We run away. We do not evaluate all identity elements of Coca Cola or Ikea when choosing one or another brand to buy. We do take memes and meme-complexes like brands as self-evidences.

However, that does not mean that everything that comes across is or should be taken as self-evidence. The decision of whether to take a loan or not is not based on self-evidences. We have to rationally evaluate our needs and constraints to take a loan and not take it is self-evident or because everyone believes in it.

When it comes to global warming, we face a situation, in which it looks like we have no option. We have to take it. Why? Because it is scientifically proven. Is it?

Take it, for example, sea rise that should be caused by global warming according to global warming self-evidence.

Sea-rise due to which self-evidence?

I do not know. Nevertheless, I know that I have been searching for any resource that would explain how many depositions of material due to erosion causes sea level rise. I could not find a single one. I even did not encounter any mention that deposition of land by rivers and by wind causes sea level rise. One can find many resources explaining erosion, but not a single one connects deposition of material with sea-level rise.

Now, this is suspicious.

First question

If there is a reservoir of water (like all seawater on earth) then it is necessary that each particle of land that drops into that reservoir causes a slight sea-level increase. The same argument is widely used when it comes to ice melting on Antarctica. We know that each atom of water melted into the sea increases sea level. Since the quantity of water in all water systems on earth and the atmosphere is constant, the rise should happen if there is less water on land and in the air (together). (Melting ice that floats on water in Arctic region does not increase sea level due to Archimed law). However, no one mentions the option that solid land disposal into the sea would or should affect sea level increase.

Second question

Erosion on earth is a fact. Due to gravity, erosion tends to move land “down”. Rocks fall down to rivers and rivers push material further down to the final destination: the sea. Step by step oceans intake more and more material due to erosion. Thought experiment tells us that after a prolonged enough period of erosion would cause that whole earth would be just one ocean without any spot of dry land.

Third question

I did find plenty of articles claiming how sea rise causes erosion on ocean shores, which make sense. However, no one touches the global influence of erosion that happens not only on ocean shores! Erosion on ocean shores counts nothing in comparison to the rest of erosion.

Conclusion

Constant deposition of material into oceans obviously causes sea level to rise. Until I see a solid argument that all deposition of solid material into oceans can not cause sea level rise experienced, so long I will reject self-evidence, that climate change is the only cause for sea-level rise.

Andrej Drapal

2 Comments

  1. whereas it is hard to evaluate denudation, present accepted figure of dissolved load carried to sea by streams and marine abrasion is slightly less than 15 cubic km per year.

    total volume of earth’s oceans is 1.335.000.000 cu. km, and total surface is 361.000.000 sq. km.

    the sea level rise due to erosion is therefore cca. 40 microns (0,04 mm) per year.

    and current sea level rise is 3,1 mm per year.

    another thing: as salt does not enter the ice crystal lattice (the water from melted ice is fresh), melting floating ice actually causes the sea level to rise, albeit slightly. the volume of water from melted ice is about 2,6% larger than the volume of displaced sea water. the melting floating ice causes (estimated) 1,6% of current sea level rise.

  2. Thanks for comment.

    It is quite clear that my focus on denudation was short. I singled out one effect of second law of thermodynamics – and made a mistake with that.Denudation is one of many. My point to challenge sea rise due to ice melting with sea rise due to denudation was too short. Thanks for that.But that does not disapprove conclusion, that over time uplift has to be smaller than all effects of litosphere weathering.

    My conclusion that over time whole earth should be covered by water due to entropy law is misleading. Such scenario would happen only if no other changes would happen. And that is highly unlikely. If nothing else larger sea surface in comparison to land surface will affect changes in climate temperatures, humidity—

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