Antarctica Will Melt If All Fossil Fuels Are Burned, Study Predicts

Posted: Sep 12 2015, 9:02pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


Antarctica Will Melt If World’s All Fossil Fuels Are Burned, Study Predicts
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Burning of deposits will result in unprecedented hike in sea levels that will put many major cities around the world under water.

A new study predicts that if all the deposits of coal, oil and natural gas are burned, entire icing sheet covering Antarctica will melt, resulting in a steep rise in sea levels of more than 190 feet.

Burning of fossil fuel resources will raise the temperature to an extent which will be enough to melt all the ice in Antarctica. 

“If we don’t stop dumping our waste CO2 into the sky, land that is now home to more than a billion people will one day be underwater.”Ken Caldeira, co-author of the study says.

A sea level rise of around 200 feet will put many major cities around the world under water including New York, Miami, Washington, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, Paris, Venice and Shanghai. Giving a sense of risk that future generations are facing due to the climate shift. If all the assessable fossil fuels are burned, they will emit almost 10,000 billion tons of carbon

Currently, Antarctica is contributing to just 10% of rise in sea levels. But if emissions are not kept under control and global warming exceeds to 2 degree Celsius, it will lead to a stunning ice melt-off and eventually to an unprecedented hike in sea levels.

The team of international researchers used advanced models to come forward with the prediction. They were surprised to find that half of the melting could happen in just one thousand years. It is causing to raise sea levels a foot per decade; almost 10 times more than it is rising now. The rise will reach up to 100 feet by the end of the millennium and could be 200 feet after several thousand of years.

Fossil fuel burning is emitting huge levels of carbon dioxide concnetrations. If emissions continue at the current level for next 60 to 80 years, Antarctic ice sheet will get unbalanced and ultimately disappear. This is the first study that is trying to determine the effects of fossil fuel burning on entire Antarctic ice sheet.

“It is much easier to predict that an ice cube in a warming room is going to melt eventually than it is to say precisely how quickly it will vanish,” co-author Ricarda Winkelmann. 

Researchers believe that climate is still in the early stages of shift and melting of Antarctic ice at a rapid pace is avoidable but it will cost trillions of dollars to do that.

“Our findings show that if we do not want to melt Antarctica, we can’t keep taking fossil fuel carbon out of the ground and just dumping it into the atmosphere as CO2 like we’ve been doing.” Caldeira said.  

The study was published in Science Advances.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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