Sunday, September 4, 2016

Perhaps the World's Biggest Ice Cube will Be Installed in a Seattle Park. How Fast Will It Melt?

Melting ice is a fundamental part of meteorology, and particularly the physics of clouds.  So when I got a call last week about a huge ice cube to be placed in a Seattle park, I was more than a little intrigued.



To be more specific, on September 9th a 9-10 TON ice cube, with 80 inch (6.7 ft) sides, is going to be placed in Occidental Park in downtown Seattle.  The Seattle architecture firm Olson Kundig (OK) is behind this unique appearance, with the ice cube being submitted as part of the Seattle Design Festival. Their ice cube web page is here.  A very dynamic installation that will change in time, and eventually disappear.

The dramatic rendering of the OK ice cube shown above is a bit too large.  A  more realistic view would be more like this:

Clay Anderson of Olson Kundig wanted to get my "professional" estimate of how long it would take for the cube to melt out.   Such as estimate has to deal with a number of variables, such as:

1.  Radiative warming from the sun, which can vary substantially depending on cloud cover.
2. Condensation on the surface, which depends on the humidity of the air, the air temperature, wind speed, and more. (when water vapor condenses, latent heat is released)
3.  Conduction of heat to the surface, which depends on the temperature of the air and wind speed.
4.   Conduction of heat from the ground into the cube.
5.  Conduction of heat into the interior of the cube.

....and several other factors.  Not a trivial calculation.

So let's have some fun with this....start a little contest.

Leave your estimate of the melt-out date/time in the comment section of this blog, and who ever wins will get a prize:  either a copy of my book or a custom weather forecast by yours truly--your choice.

To get you into the mood, here is a dreamy video of an ice cube melting:



Good luck.

You know what big ice cubes are good for...
____________________________________________________
Announcement: My Climate Surprise Talk on September 28.

During the evening of September 28, I will be giving a talk in Seattle at UW's Kane Hall on Climate Surprise: Unexpected Impacts of Global Warming on the Pacific Northwest.   You think global warming will simply bring warmer temperatures, drought,  less snow, and more storms?  Think again. The latest climate model simulations provide a far more nuanced prediction of what will happen here, with some of the results quite surprising.   This talk is sponsored by CarbonWa and the Audubon Society To find out more or to secure tickets, please go here.

98 comments:

Michael Snyder said...

September 12th, 11am

Seattle Guides said...

I estimate:

9/14, 2:00pm.

Best of luck to all!

Steve Lovell

Ace said...

When on Sept. 9th will the cube be planted?

Drew Cluley said...

Sept 12th 3:50 pm

Steve Lovell said...

I submitted an estimate under the wrong Google account. Please use this account for correspondence...thanks!
================
I estimate:

9/14, 2:00pm

Best of luck to all!

Steve Lovell

Drew Cluley said...

Sept 12 3:50pm

Kevin Clark said...

Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 7:21 AM (Autumal Equinox)

WesternRedSeadar said...

September 22nd

Trisha Long said...

October 4th 2pm

Kris Simonsen said...

11 days, 5 hours, 13 minutes

Grady O said...

September 15th, at 5:23 pm

Aidan Teall said...

September 11th at 8:00pm

Unknown said...

Sept. 14, 9:13 a.m. :)

David Bright said...

Sept 16 2016 at 535 PM PDT

K.R. Burgess said...


I hope it comes with the 'Worlds Largest Glass of Scotch'.

;>)

Colleen said...

Very cool project. I can't even begin to guesstimate when it will melt but it's pretty interesting to see the huge variance in guesses already submitted. Quite the range!

slinky said...

Not sure of the exact start time, so:

18 days, 3 hours, 29 minutes

Matthew Li said...

September 15th 11pm

Charlie Phillips said...

December 14, 2016 (Hannukah Eve Storm Anniversary!)

Flip said...

September 27th at 3:30 PM

jeff said...

18 days 3 hours and 28 minutes :)

Jennie and Steve said...

September 14 @ 18:25

Keith Guerin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thomas said...

September 19th, noon

Macbormit said...

September 23rd at 7:32pm

Rod said...

September 20th at 4:176 PM.

snapdragon said...

Sept. 22 (my b-day) at noon.

In some northern climates, they plow snow all winter and then pile it up in one location in a parking lot. Sometimes, it takes all summer and part of the fall for the snow mountain to melt. I wonder if this will really take longer than most of us think?

Hans de Grys said...

Sept 25, 5pm

Karen Grooms said...

October 9th, 10:00 am

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Kathy Riddle said...

I say October 6th at 5:00pm

Eric said...

October 12th, 9:20am.

Bill Wise said...

October 11th 2PM

rwl said...

30 days, 3 hours, 33 min

Karen Grooms said...

Fun choice!

1 said...

September 17th at 3 PM

Spangled said...

I guess Halloween, my husband thinks November 11th.

Jan Pinamonti said...

9/13/16 @ 12:15 pm

Dave Z said...

It could last for quite sometime, if it's placed in the shade and if the rains hold out until later in the fall. Think chunk of glacier or small iceberg. I'd say the sun and rain are key, or if black bodies attach to it like autumn leaves. I'd like to give Christmas Day the estimated date, but I'm tempted to move the melt date to much later time in the winter. So I will: March 16, 2016.

takadave said...

November 13th at 4:30Pm

sds said...

65 days

Ron Pratt said...

80 days

Andy Swineford said...

Thanksgiving Day

Trisha Long said...

That was my thought! I grew up in eastern Washington and one year it took until June for the large piles to melt.

Ron Pratt said...

One variable I did not consider. Just like the old Tootsie Pop commercial...how many licks to the center...? Since this is a public location, something will happen - 24 days Oct. 3rd

Scott Button said...

Prediction: Sunday, November 27, 2016 at 10AM.

Unknown said...

Nov 5th 6:00 am

-Greg

DawgfatherJr said...

September 28, 17:30

rainycity1 said...

7 days: Sept 16 2016 between 10:00 a.m. and noon PDT

I suspect the previous 'tootsie roll' comment will be a major contributor to the demise of the ice, so I've picked a time when I think people will be out stomping on things ;-)

Unknown said...

The day after Thanksgiving; my Brother's Birthday; November 25

Polistra said...

If the spot is shady, 4 months. If sunny, two weeks.

J Slocum said...

11/15 at 1630, the last bit will melt.

Unknown said...

This is a trick question. The ice cube will not fully melt; a small amount of it will sublimate. Therefore, the question, as written, cannot be answered, or the result is infinite.

Unknown said...

Men will want to pee on it. There. I said it.

This will influence the melt time, if possible. I hope they protect it somehow.

George Dyson said...

October 21, at 3:00 pm.

AliceDenison said...

September 23rd at 6:32 pm

C.P.O. said...

October 1st, 10am

PERRY DAIRY said...

November 16 at 3:32 PM

OhanaSchmana said...

April 1, 2017 4:01 am

MN50 said...

Sept. 15th, 0000 UTC

Ryan Fleming said...

December 9th, 3:04pm

Amanda Summers said...

October 12th, 3:00pm

Jonathan said...

Oct 1 2016, 00:00
Jonathan

David Croutworst said...

David C

Oct 5th at 3:33 pm

Luke Strong-Cvetich said...

Nov 8th, when the polls close in WA
Luke s-c

Ted Stern said...

I work a block from the Park. Knowing the street life there, I expect that enough drunk and homeless males will urinate on the installation to induce rapid melting. I predict September 23, 1:30PM.

Brian Blackmore said...

I give it 81.18 hours. Supposing an installation by 1pm Friday (this is Seattle after all), that means my vote is:

2016-09-12 22:06:03 PDT

Geetha Venkat said...

September 16, 2016

Ahamed Daramy said...

It will take two weeks to completely melt. So, Sept. 9 plus 14 days, equals Sept. 23 fourteen days to the minute of placement.

IM said...

Oct 2, 2016
Ian

ROBBY said...

September 21st 11:21AM

Bjørn Sandelien said...

October 7, 2016 03:00 PM

a.e. said...

Complete melt out on:
2016-09-19 19:19 PST

gabe said...

9/22, 2pm

Alex Lukinbeal said...

2016-09-18 19:25 PST

Unknown said...

Assuming a spherical cube...
3:00 p.m. September 16th, 2016

Jonathan Hambrick said...

September 15th at 2:30 PM

docmwj said...

Having been stationed in Fairbanks and witnessed 3 breakups...Oct 16th, 1422

Kacy said...

September 17th at 3:45 pm PST

Ruth said...

February 26, 2017 4:30pm

Sam Erickson said...

October 5th at 15:15

Michael said...

September 24 at 20:03

Andy Stahl said...

September 19 at noon.

Nic said...

October 23 11:00

Unknown said...

September 23rd 1:03 pm

Alex said...

Groundhog day, Feb 2, 2017 6:00 AM

Natalia Slobodina said...

November 28th, 2016, 16:12 PST

Natalia Slobodina said...

November 28th, 2016, 16:12 PST.

Scott Welch said...

Feb. 4th 2017

Bryan said...

I predict the oceans will rise as folks scratch their heads. 5 days?

Brian Blackmore said...

Sheesh I sure hope they tested this beforehand. From the pictures it looks a tad wider at the top. It might end up being a demonstration of structural collapse. :/

From the pictures you can already see the corners rounding out.

BRO ZONE LAYER said...

September 15th at 12:15pm.

I saw it today and it had a consistent stream rolling off it!

Go Away said...

September 30th 2016 1:37pm

rainycity1 said...

Hmmm... knowing that it is actually made up of blocks rather than one solid cube... we'll see if that changes the predictions
http://www.geekwire.com/2016/freeze-theres-10-ton-block-ice-melting-seattle-right-now-pictures/

It's very pretty, at any rate!

Ian Fenty said...

October 19, noon.

Ian Fenty said...

October 19, noon. 39 days after installation

Real Estate Gals said...

I guess 5 p.m. on Sept. 16.

Real Estate Gals said...

I'm guessing Friday, Sept. 16 at 5 p.m.