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Home / Science / The Antarctic ice is falling faster than we thought, and there may be no way to stop the episodes

The Antarctic ice is falling faster than we thought, and there may be no way to stop the episodes



These ice sheets have been melting for some time now and it does not require a degree in physics to understand the risk there: as the floating ice melts, the sea level rises. And the sea level rise is obviously a big problem.

New NASA-funded research published in the journal PNAS reveals a worrying complication. Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Washington have conducted hundreds of simulations to predict how a large ice sheet, the Thwaites Glacier, could decompose over the next 50 to 800 years.

The results showed that the glacier was more at risk of becoming unstable than previously thought.

Small changes could lead to a turning point.

"Unstable" here means something very specific. An "instability" in an ice sheet essentially makes it a frozen ticking time bomb. The area of ​​the glacier, beyond which it protrudes over the water, is eaten away, which can cause the ice of the glacier to break off and flow faster into the sea, contributing to a rise in sea level.

More menacing, research finds it difficult, if not impossible, to stop once this instability has been triggered.

"If you trigger this instability, you will not have to push the ice sheet further by raising the temperature, it will go on by itself, and that is the concern," lead author Alexander Robel said in a news release.

In other words, even if climate change were magically reversed, it would not necessarily stop the dangerous and rapid sea-level rise that could be triggered by unstable ice sheets.

Worst Case Scenario

Robel, assistant professor at Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, states that the "worst case" scenario increases by two or three The glacier alone could be the foot of the scenario.

While Robel proposes engineers and planners to build future critical infrastructures farther from sea level, you do not have to pack your coastal homes like high tide. This potential acceleration of sea-level rise could be fully effective in 200 to 600 years.

This seems to take a long time because by then we will all be dead. But hopefully, the Earth and its future generations will not be, and climate scientists want to keep it that way.


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