Antarctic Melt Could Double Sea Level Rise Over Earlier Estimates By 2100

Posted: Mar 31 2016, 6:16am CDT | by , Updated: Mar 31 2016, 11:15pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

Antarctic Melt Could Double Sea Level Rise Over Earlier Estimates by 2100
The 100-meter terminal ice cliff of Helheim Glacier in Southeast Greenland, which is retreating rapidly. DeConto and Pollard say processes like this on Greenland could become more widespread in Antarctica if thick parts of the ice sheet at the ocean’s edge begin losing their protective ice shelves. Credit: Knut Christianson, University of Washington
  • Sea Level Rise could be Twice that of Current Estimates in Next 100 Years

Due to polar meltdown, the sea level rise by the end of the 21st century could be twice that of the current estimates.

Climatologists are looking closely into the “situation normal absolutely fouled up” as regards sea level rise due to global warming. The most recent guesstimates about sea level rise by the end of this century will probably be surpassed by 100% if mankind is not careful.

This fact alone could spell doom for many coastal cities that are situated at low terrains. A city like Boston could see 5 feet of sea level rise in the next 100 years, according to new research published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

This study was conducted by climate scientists Robert DeConto at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and David Pollard at Pennsylvania State University.

“This could spell disaster for many low-lying cities. For example, Boston could see more than 1.5 meters [about 5 feet] of sea-level rise in the next 100 years,” DeConto said. “But the good news is that an aggressive reduction in emissions will limit the risk of major Antarctic ice sheet retreat.”

However, this situation could be rectified via a reduction in fossil fuel emissions. This will stop the retreat of the Antarctic ice sheet in its tracks. New odds and ends of information from novel heuristics were added to the previously flawed models.

This resulted in a totally different picture emerging from the rubble of data. The collapse of the ice sheets and ice cliffs along with the ensuing meltwater could lead to a rise of one meter in sea level by 2100. This figure could even go up to 15 meters by 2500.

The worst that could befall mankind is for the atmospheric warming to overtake the oceanic warming and thus drive up the temperatures by several degrees.

Life would come to a standstill as lassitude, dullness and sluggishness due to the profuse heat increased to the point of no return. The revised models of sea level rise paint a dismal picture.

Nobody wants their children to face this dreadful scenario in the future. Once large amounts of ice is lost to the sea, the thermal memory of the ocean is automatically reduced. This causes a host of problems on its own.

The past ages of prehistoric times were studied in the quest by the climatologists to build a new model of sea level rise. The Antarctic ice sheet is very sensitive to heat in the atmosphere.

It reacts with the phenomenon of meltdown each time the heat goes through the roof. That is why in the past too, when temperatures were higher, the sea levels rose by several feet thereby inundating large areas of land.

The situation is one of ice structures along the polar regions being subject to extreme vulnerability. As summer temperatures soar, the meltwater only adds in ever-increasing millimeters to the sea levels. This of course spells trouble for mankind as the future approaches in its inevitable march.

“Today, summer temperatures approach or just exceed 0 degrees C. on many shelves, and due to their flat surfaces near sea level, little atmospheric warming would be needed to dramatically increase the areal extent of surface melting and summer rainfall,” the researchers said.

“If protective ice shelves were suddenly lost in the vast areas around the Antarctic margin where reverse-sloping bedrock (where the bed on which the ice sheet sits deepens toward the continental interior, rather than toward the ocean) is more than 1,000 meters deep, exposed grounding line ice cliffs would quickly succumb to structural failure as is happening in the few places where such conditions exist today,” the researchers point out.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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