Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New Antarctic Research Ups Sea Level Rise Estimates

Simulation showing the major glaciers of the Amundsen Sea Embayment in West Antarctica over three centuries of sustained retreat (Credit: Cornford et al., The Cryosphere, 2015)  Click to Enlarge.
The West Antarctic is one of the most remote places on the planet, but its fate is intimately tied with hundreds of millions living along the world’s coastlines.  That’s because it’s frozen expanse contains enough ice to raise sea levels by up to 13 feet.

There have been multiple warnings of growing instability across the region and the possibility of collapse due to a mix of warming water and air and the topography below the ice.  But the complexities of how much ice melts and when it disappears are still outstanding.  

New research published Tuesday in The Cryosphere revises how much West Antarctica could contribute to sea level rise.  The findings indicate that West Antarctica could contribute an additional 8 inches of water on top of an estimated of 39 inches of sea level rise projected by the end of this century.  Put another way, the region would drop the equivalent of a 19,000 cubic mile ice cube into the world’s oceans.  The region will continue adding water to the world’s oceans through at least 2200, representing a major threat to coasts everywhere.

Read more at New Antarctic Research Ups Sea Level Rise Estimates

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