Study: Melted Antarc­tic ice drown­ing coasts

USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Doyle Rice

Global warm­ing has caused over 3 tril­lion tons of ice to melt from Antarc­tica in the past quar­ter-cen­tury and tripled ice loss there in the past decade, a new study finds.

The to­tal is equiv­a­lent to over 4 quin­til­lion gal­lons of wa­ter added to the world’s oceans, mak­ing Antarc­tica’s melt­ing ice sheets one of the largest con­trib­u­tors to ris­ing sea lev­els. That amount of wa­ter is enough to fill over a bil­lion swim­ming pools and cover Texas to a depth of nearly 13 feet.

“Even though Antarc­tica is far from most hu­man civ­i­liza­tion, its ice sheet is los­ing mass to the ocean, and is an in­creas­ing con­tri­bu­tion to sea-level rise,” said study co-au­thor He­len Amanda Fricker, a glaciol­o­gist at Scripps In­sti­tu­tion of Oceanog­ra­phy. This “will have large im­pacts on coast­lines all around all the world.

“The fu­ture we choose could de­ter­mine when we need to re­build air­ports, cities and in­fra­struc­ture so that we can be­come re­silient to such changes.”

Over­all, sci­en­tists say, the melt­ing ice in Antarc­tica is re­spon­si­ble for about one-third of all sea-level rise around the world.

The cause is clearly due to the warm­ing world, with tem­per­a­tures boosted by the in­creased amount of car­bon diox­ide hu­man­ity emits from the burn­ing of fos­sil fu­els such as gas, oil and coal.

“We are able to say that the in­creased ice loss is mainly due to ocean-driven melt­ing in West Antarc­tica,” Shep­herd said. “The ocean is about 1 de­gree (F) too warm for the ice, and it is melt­ing and re­treat­ing as a re­sult.” He said this matches the temperature changes our planet has ex­pe­ri­enced, on av­er­age, dur­ing the in­dus­trial era.

Comments

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.