PBS Terra published a YouTube video titled The Doomsday Glacier Is Collapsing…Who Is Most at Risk? The focus of the PBS video is climate change. Beginning at minute 0:09, the narrator states the sea level rises approximately 1.4 inches per decade and claims the rate is projected to increase as global temperatures warm. The narrator immediately shifts focus to the melting of Thwaites Glacier in western Antarctica. The narrator attributes the melting of the glacier to global warming.
In fact, Thwaites Glacier is melting but not due to global warming. Western Antarctica is heated by magma upwelling from the earth below. If or when the glacier melts completely, there would be a substantial rise in mean sea level (MSL). And, yes, a short distance from the seacoasts of America there would be flooding of beachfront and waterfront properties that are less than six feet above MSL, about two blocks inland.
An article titled Hidden Volcanoes Melt Antarctic Glaciers from Below, published on LiveScience.com in June of 2014 describes the subglacial volcanic action, and natural heat due to geological processes. How much heat?
The heat from the earth flows outward at a rate of 65 milliWatts per square meter all over the world. The hotspot beneath Thwaites Glacier is exceptional. I quote: “The minimum average heat flow beneath Thwaites Glacier is 114 milliwatts per square meter (or per about 10 square feet) with some areas giving off 200 milliwatts per square meter or more …”
The author of the LiveScience story cannot resist attributing the melting of the glacier to global warming. If global warming is so significant, why is not eastern Antarctica also rapidly melting? Hint: it’s not.
Estimates vary on the rise of MSL due to the melting of Thwaites Glacier, the Doomsday Glacier. Estimates ranging from two to ten feet of sea-level rise are scientific guesses carried out to six decimal places (sarcasm intended).
People are natural. People, like all living species, will naturally retreat from a slowly rising tide. My family annually vacationed on Treasure Island to the west of Galveston Island. One favorite beachfront house we rented multiple times was a two-story structure atop tall polls that protected the house from hurricane-driven waves. The first time staying there the Gulf of Mexico was distant from the property. The last time the Gulf waters were lapping at the base of the house. Sandy beaches regularly erode. That house was eventually abandoned due to the movement of the shoreline.
Beach and shoreline erosion is a natural process not anthropogenic, that is to say not a consequence of human activity.