Antarctica Meltdown Can Trigger A Global Sea Level Rise Of 20 Feet

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When the first humans appeared on Earth, about 115,000 years ago, the planet was experiencing a warmer period, pretty much like it’s happening today. However, according to recent studies, back then, the sea level was by 20 feet higher than it is today. The scientists believe that Antarctica meltdown would soon trigger a global sea rise of 20 feet.

The scientists reached this conclusion by analyzing plant fossils found at Baffin Island, in northeastern Canada, and which grew for the last time about 115,000 years ago when there was no ice layer to cover them. But where is now the ice that caused the sea level to be by 20 feet higher more than 100,000 years ago?

Scientists believe that Antarctica holds enough ice to trigger that 20 feet increase in the global sea level. More precisely, the researchers pointed to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet which is now submerged under water. Over the past 10,000 years, this ice sheet thinned by more than 700 meters, and it seems that the meltdown would continue, which, corroborated with ocean warming, would increase global sea levels.

Antarctica Meltdown Can Trigger A Global Sea Level Rise Of 20 Feet

“There’s no way to get tens of meters of sea level rise without getting tens of meters of sea level rise from Antarctica. What we pointed out was, if the kind of calving that we see in Greenland today were to start turning on in analogous settings in Antarctica, then Antarctica has way thicker ice, it’s a way bigger ice sheet, the consequences would be potentially really monumental for sea level rise,” said Rob DeConto, an Antarctic expert at the University of Massachusetts.

“We cannot recreate six meters of sea level rise early in the Eemian without accounting for some brittle fracture in the ice sheet model,” the researcher added.

Mr. DeConto and his co-worker David Pollard carried out simulations to explore the thawing of ice in Greenland, and the scientists warned that, if the same process would take place in Antarctica, the outcomes will be catastrophic since the global sea level would rise by 20 feet.


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