The melting of ice in Antarctica could lead to the ‘ice apocalypse & # 39; if the glaciers of Pine Island and Thwaites collapse


Concerns over the melting of Antarctica have increased in recent months following events such as the collapse of the Larsen C ice shelf. And with global warming unceasingly, a meteorologist believes that an "ice apocalypse" could have Instead, two key glaciers in Antarctica will eventually collapse as global temperatures continue to rise.

In an article published this week in Grist meteorologist Eric Holthaus wrote about the Pine Island and Thwaite glaciers of Antarctica, pointing out how these ice mbades "constantly marched for millennia" towards the Amundsen Sea . Both glaciers were described as a kind of plug, being able to contain up to 11 feet of possible sea level rise if they melted, an amount that could be enough to submerge all the coastal cities of our planet. While no one knows when these glaciers will melt, Holthaus said there is a good chance that this will happen, and that the most important question is when such events will take place.

"Discovering how fast these glaciers will collapse." is one of the most important scientific questions in the world today. "

Due to a phenomenon called" sea-cliff instability ", the two Pine Island Bay glaciers in question collapsed approximately 11,000 years ago, prompting The beginning of the last Ice Age According to Holthaus, the global temperatures in those times were more or less the same as at present, and the instability of the marine cliffs previously cited as a potential "feedback loop" that could cause the West Antarctic ice sheet melts and disintegrates much earlier than originally predicted, a "global catastrophe" could occur if the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers collapse.

As noted by National Geographic ] The melting ice on Pine Island has been especially dramatic, with its ice shelf losing 150 feet between 1994 and 2012. Currently, Pine Island Ice Shelf is approximately 1,300 feet thick in most of its surrounding area. That same report also described the Thwaites glacier as "more disturbing" and capable of destabilizing a large portion of the West Antarctic ice sheet if it collapses.

Differentiating the two types of ice melting that occur in the polar regions, Holthaus wrote that the floating ice that forms ice shelves does not have much impact on sea levels. But the terrestrial ice that falls to the sea is "much more problematic", since it increases the volume of water and consequently raises the level of the sea.

With global warming accelerating the process of melting Antarctic ice, Holthaus hopes that the collapse of Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers could happen in only 20 to 50 years, leaving humanity with little time to make the necessary changes.

"A wholesale collapse of Pine Island and Thwaites would trigger a catastrophe, giant icebergs would drift away from Antarctica like a parade of frozen soldiers, and high tides would rise slowly throughout the world, slowly burying each coastal line of the planet. planet, flooding coastal cities and creating hundreds of millions of climate refugees. "

The newest iceberg in Antarctica can destabilize the entire ice shelf https: // t. co / Uw0v9fUFlk

– GO GREEN (@ECOWARRIORSS) November 26, 2017

Citing a 2016 study by climatologists Rob DeConto and David Pollard, Holthaus also explained the possible consequences of sea level rise in different parts of the world, starting with a three-foot increase that could cause an increase in floods in New Orleans, Miami, New York and other coastal cities in the United States. He stressed that this is the most optimistic scenario for many scientists concerned about the melting of Antarctic ice and other similar events related to climate change. An increase in sea level of six feet, on the other hand, could displace up to 12 million Americans, and potentially destroy Asian cities such as Shanghai, Mumbai and Ho Chi Minh City. According to the study by DeConto and Pollard, which is detailed in the journal Nature this is the scenario of the most probable rise in sea level at the end of the century.

Regarding the worst possible scenario of an 11-foot increase, Holthaus warned that "hundreds of millions of people" could submerge underwater, with South Florida "largely uninhabitable" and New York and New Jersey besieged by floods twice a month similar to those that occurred as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

The fate of only two glaciers could reshape our future #PineIslandGlacier #ThwaitesGlacier #Antarctica #ClimateChange #RisingOceanLevels #PolarIceCaps [19659019] #IceCaps [19659019] #Emissions #ParisAgreement #Glaciers

– mfresh (@ntrsfrml) November 25, 2017

Commenting on the study of DeConto and Pollard, University of Michigan ice-cap scientist Jeremy Bbadis admitted he is not sure if the instability of the sea ice cliff and its effects on the melting ice of Antarctica would cause a catastrophic rise in sea level . He added, however, that such an event is now "within the scope of possibility"

. Despite all the scenarios of fatality predicted by experts, Holthaus Grist also quoted some scientists who believe that More research is needed before concluding that Pine Island, Thwaites and other glaciers can collapse and melt several decades from now. According to the main scientist of the Ice and Ice National Data Center, Ted Scambos, both glaciers could collapse at the same time, but if a rapid collapse occurs, it could result in a "stack of icebergs" forming a temporary ice and slowing the ice of the ice. Antarctica. melt in the meantime.

With bets surrounding the potential collapse of the Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers higher than ever, Holthaus concluded its feature Grist offering some hope for the future, provided that the The world makes a "rapid transition" away from the use of fossil fuels. He believes that if this is done within the next few decades, the catastrophic rise in sea level could be avoided "for centuries."

[Featured Image by Mario Tama/Getty Images]

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