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View Full Version : Large population in Antartica ?



canopuss
2010-Aug-29, 10:07 AM
Suppose if the world become warmer, can people live in Antartica in several millions and is large scale farming possible ?

kevin1981
2010-Aug-29, 04:19 PM
I am no expert at all. But if the planet gets warmer then would'nt the ice start to melt leading to an unstable platform to build anything? And for farming and agriculture for that many people, you would need soil and lots of it. I guess you would need to build a new ecosystem from scratch by importing lots of various materials. This would cost a lot of money also.

Ara Pacis
2010-Aug-29, 04:49 PM
If the ice all melted, You'd have to wait for the bulk of the continent to rebound from the weight of the glaciers to a position above the new sea level that would be a couple hundred feet higher than today. A lot of the continent is below the current sea level as it is.

neilzero
2010-Aug-29, 08:36 PM
Portions of the Southern Coast of Greenland were ice free for about 100 years and the Norse practiced agriculture then, so there is a slight possibility that Antarctica will support agriculture for a million people a century or two from now. More likely Antarctica will lose about as much ice as it gains from snow fall over the next 1000 years, and the oceans will rise centimeters instead of meters, mostly from melting in the Arctic. Warmer in Antarctica will likely lead to more snow fall, thus cancelling the increased ice loss. Neil

Romanus
2010-Aug-30, 12:05 AM
A catastrophic melting would be no good; as aforementioned, not only would most of the land be an archipelago in (very) rapid rebound, the land exposed would be utter waste. It would take decades, if not centuries to make any land we'd consider worthwhile, especially with no nearby founder terrestrial biomes as in the Northern Hemisphere. If there were no catastrophic warming / melting, then something might be possible in the Antarctic Peninsula, but wholly on our own, as the land doesn't even have a real tundra to start from.

Long story short: a warm, arable Antarctica probably isn't in the cards.

Trakar
2010-Aug-30, 12:13 AM
Portions of the Southern Coast of Greenland were ice free for about 100 years and the Norse practiced agriculture then, so there is a slight possibility that Antarctica will support agriculture for a million people a century or two from now. More likely Antarctica will lose about as much ice as it gains from snow fall over the next 1000 years, and the oceans will rise centimeters instead of meters, mostly from melting in the Arctic. Warmer in Antarctica will likely lead to more snow fall, thus cancelling the increased ice loss. Neil

Portions of the southern coast of Greenland have remained ice-free (at least in the summers) for most of recorded history and beyond.

Delvo
2010-Aug-30, 12:38 AM
The soil's already there just waiting to be lived on, and the rebound issue only applies to areas that would be too low, not areas that are already high enough. But that doesn't solve the sunlight problem. Even if the continent is moving away from the pole (which I think is not the case), the time frame for that problem to be fixed is in the dozens of millions of years at least.

Trakar
2010-Aug-30, 02:25 AM
The soil's already there just waiting to be lived on, and the rebound issue only applies to areas that would be too low, not areas that are already high enough. But that doesn't solve the sunlight problem. Even if the continent is moving away from the pole (which I think is not the case), the time frame for that problem to be fixed is in the dozens of millions of years at least.

There may be some drop piles of soil, but for the most part the antarctic continent has probably been scraped to bedrock.

lomiller1
2010-Aug-30, 02:33 PM
Assuming global temperatures get warm enough it’d still take 5000 years or so for the ice to melt and a thousands more for soil to develop, and even then I suspect it would be cool and you would end up with taiga rather the soil suitable for agriculture.

kucharek
2010-Aug-30, 02:41 PM
Don't forget the lighting issue. You will still have long polar nights and I don't know, if lots of people would like to live in such an environment.

ravens_cry
2010-Aug-30, 03:24 PM
Don't forget the lighting issue. You will still have long polar nights and I don't know, if lots of people would like to live in such an environment.
Not a lot, but people do. My aunt lived in the North West Territories near Great Slave Lake and there are people, a literal handful of people but still people, who l permanently live in Alert, Nunavut, which is only 508 miles from the North Pole.

Ara Pacis
2010-Aug-30, 03:58 PM
Assuming global temperatures get warm enough it’d still take 5000 years or so for the ice to melt and a thousands more for soil to develop, and even then I suspect it would be cool and you would end up with taiga rather the soil suitable for agriculture.

But it doesn't have to melt, it just has to scoot off into the ocean.

publiusr
2010-Aug-30, 09:23 PM
Just give it time, and Antarctica will drift away from the pole ;)

kamaz
2010-Aug-30, 09:30 PM
Portions of the Southern Coast of Greenland were ice free for about 100 years and the Norse practiced agriculture then,

About 400 years, actually. Expansion, decline and fall of the Vikings in Greenland:

http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/vikings_during_mwp.html