Saturday, April 10, 2021

Flooding Planet? About 70% of Antarctic Ice Shelf Risks Collapsing, Study Claims - Sputnik International

About 70% of Antarctic Ice Shelf Risks Collapsing, Study Claims

Ice shelves are critical for keeping the typical Antarctic landscape balanced, as they prevent water from excessively flowing into the oceans, which would cause global sea levels to skyrocket.

Chances are that over a third (67 percent) of the Antarctic ice shelf will collapse into the sea should global temperatures surpass pre-industrial levels by 4 degrees Celsius, which is 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit, a new study from the UK's University of Reading warns. The findings have been published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

In it, scientists explain how crucial ice shelves – ice platforms floating near the coastline -  are, as they act like a dam, slowing the pace of ice melting and water uncontrolledly flowing into the water reservoirs.

    "Ice shelves are important buffers preventing glaciers on land from flowing freely into the ocean and contributing to sea level rise. When they collapse, it's like a giant cork being removed from a bottle, allowing unimaginable amounts of water from glaciers to pour into the sea", study lead author Ella Gilbert, a climate scientist at the University of Reading's Department of Meteorology, explained in a follow-up statement.

Gilbert detailed to CNN, what a significant danger this poses to low coastal localities, like for instance, South Pacific island states such as Vanuatu and Tuvalu.

Over the summer, the surface ice on those shelves melts, soaking into smaller gaps in the snow below, where it usually freezes anew.

Yet, in the event of larger-scale melting and little snowfall, this water pools onto the ice's surface or flows into crevasses, enlarging them and causing the shelf to break apart and slip into the sea.

Having used high-resolution regional climate modelling to forecast the fallout from increased melting on ice shelf stability, the researchers came to the conclusion that curbing temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius would cut the risk of collapse in half.....



Antarctic Ice Sheet


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