Just recently scientists have revealed that 3 trillion tons of ice have melted into the sea from 1992 until the present moment. This is the enormous amount of ice that Antarctica has lost so far. Most of this ice melt is actually coming from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the Antarctic Peninsula.
If we take into consideration the way West Antarctica is melting, we can easily see that the US coastline will be extremely affected and it would also have to pay a rising sea level tax of approximately 25%. This is the reason why climate scientists believe that the place where the ice is melting is extremely crucial in establishing what kind of threats the coastal communities face. It seems that the US would have a more significant sea level rise from West Antarctica’s melting than from Greenland Ice Sheet’s. And this is due to certain characteristics of Earth’s climate system.
The sea level rise and Earth’s gravity
According to a climate scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Rob DeConto, it looks like our planet has an elastic response to the melting of ice sheets. Apparently, the rising of the sea levels does not happen at the same rate everywhere in the world, as everything is strongly influenced by Earth’s gravity.
Therefore, if the Greenland Ice Sheet was to melt completely, the places that are near Greenland wouldn’t even notice. This is due to the fact that the local sea level close to the ice sheet would be lowered, as the ice sheet would reduce its gravitational pull toward itself as a result of it losing ice. This in turn would mean that a loss in Antarctica’s mass will have a great impact on a more distant place, such as North America.
Not only that, but a small change in Earth’s axis of rotation would also be observed due to Antarctica’s ice melt. Because of this, the sea level rise could be distributed unevenly.
It’s not too late yet
If Antarctica’s ice melt continues at the same rate until 2070, the worst thing that could possibly happen is that we would see a rising in global temperatures by 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit or 3.5 degrees Celsius. A sea level rise of 5mm / year would also see an economic loss from the flooded coastal cities by $1 trillion per year. But nothing is certain yet. DeConto has also mentioned that there is still time to make a change and we haven’t reached a moment when it’s too late to do anything regarding the Antarctic ice melt rate that is quickly accelerating.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca