A scientific report endorsed by the United Nations states that unless greenhouse gas emissions are curtailed, average global temperatures may rise between one and three degrees Celsius (two and five degrees Fahrenheit) in the next 100 years. The ramifications of a temperature change even at the low end of this range would be severe. A one-degree Celsius (two-degree-Fahrenheit) change in temperature is predicted to result in a one meter (three-foot) rise in sea level, which would displace millions of people in coastal cities and low-lying islands.
Which type of ice (land ice or sea ice) poses a greater threat to sea level rise if large-scale melting due to climate change occurs?
2 clear plastic cups
1. Place about 10 ice cubes in one of the clear plastic cups, then fill it about three-quarters of the way full with water. (Simulating sea ice.)
2. Fill up the other graduated cylinder to the exact same level as the first clear plastic cup.
3. Place the funnel in the top of the second clear plastic cup and put the same number of ice cubes in it as you did in the first cylinder. (Simulating land ice.)
4. Wait 15-30 minutes for the ice to melt and observe how much the water level has increased in both graduated cylinders.
Table 1: Rise in Water Level
0 minutes (Initial)
Final -30 minutes
1. Which ice led to the highest rise in water level?
Explain in your own words why this occurred.
2. How was this experiment similar to the warming of Earth?