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:

  1. I estimate:

    9/14, 2:00pm.

    Best of luck to all!

    Steve Lovell

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

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  3. 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

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

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

    ;>)

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  6. 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!

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  7. Not sure of the exact start time, so:

    18 days, 3 hours, 29 minutes

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  8. December 14, 2016 (Hannukah Eve Storm Anniversary!)

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  9. 18 days 3 hours and 28 minutes :)

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. September 20th at 4:176 PM.

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  12. 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?

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

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  14. I guess Halloween, my husband thinks November 11th.

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  15. 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.

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  16. 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

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

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  18. 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 ;-)

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

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

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  21. 11/15 at 1630, the last bit will melt.

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  22. 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.

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  23. 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.

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

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  25. 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.

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  26. 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

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

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

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

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

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  31. Groundhog day, Feb 2, 2017 6:00 AM

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

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  33. 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.

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  34. September 15th at 12:15pm.

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

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  35. 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!

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  36. October 19, noon. 39 days after installation

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

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