As per usual in his series on AGW Deniers, Lawrence Solomon is able to find a retired old fart to talk about an area of science he has no special expertise in. In this case, soil scientist Cliff Ollier attempts to demonstrate that the rapid melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets is impossible.
Here's Mr. Ollier describing what's impossible:
The scenarios [of rapid melting]...stem from models divorced from the real world. They rely on imaginary glaciers and ice sheets -- not on the actual formations that exist in Greenland and Antarctica -- and demonstrate no understanding of how glaciers flow.
Ice sheets do not melt from the surface down -- only at the edges,' Prof. Ollier explains. The modellers' mechanism that has 'meltwater lakes on the surface finding their way down through cracks in the ice and lubricating the bottom of the glacier is not compatible with accumulation of undisturbed snow layers.'"
And here's an account by real glaciologists of the impossible happening just this April:
A report in today's Science describes how researchers recorded the drainage of one such lake in Greenland. The lake was roughly 5.6 km2, but drained completely in less than an hour and a half. The lake's contents rapidly made their way down to the bottom of the ice sheet, 980 m below the surface. During this period, the average drainage rate was 8700 m3/s. For reference, the average flow rate for Niagara Falls is only 5700 m3/s.
As Jerry Fodor is fond of saying: Ptonk! (meaning: Argument over!)
Usually with one of Solomon's pieces it takes a bit of research to discover that its all bullshit. Luckily, in this case, I've been wanting to write about these glacial lakes for awhile now, and already had a few links/quotes in the bag.