Antarc­tica’s time ‘run­ning out’

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY JOHN VON RADOWITZ

Time is rapidly run­ning out to save Antarc­tica and the rest of the world from the cat­a­strophic run­away ef­fects of cli­mate change, sci­en­tists have warned.

Vi­tal de­ci­sions in the next 10 years will de­ter­mine the fate of the con­ti­nent and whether or not a surge in sea lev­els swamps coastal cities, new re­search sug­gests. If not enough is done to curb green­house gas emis­sions, changes to the Antarc­tic en­vi­ron­ment will re­sult in global sea lev­els ris­ing by more than a me­tre (3.3ft) by 2070.

Even­tu­ally the un­stop­pable forces un­leashed would see the col­lapse of the en­tire West Antarc­tic Ice Sheet and an over­whelm­ing 3.5me­tre (11.5ft) rise in sea lev­els, the study pre­dicts.

In con­trast, a sig­nif­i­cant cut in emis­sions would pro­tect the vul­ner­a­ble ice sheets and avert the threat of ma­jor sea level rises.

The in­ter­na­tional team, in­clud­ing UK ex­perts from Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don, pre­dicted the likely out­come will be one of two far-reach­ing sce­nar­ios.

Un­der the first, green­house gas emis­sions con­tinue un­abated, caus­ing global tem­per­a­tures to soar to al­most 5C above their level in 1850.

The sec­ond would see gov­ern­ments rally to cut emis­sions and keep global warm­ing to be­low 2C. Sea lev­els would then only rise by around half a me­tre due to ef­fects that have been ir­re­versible since 2010.

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