LASER TALK: Point of No Return for the West Antarctic Ice Sheets

The glaciers of West Antarctica have been melting away at a rather alarming rate in recent years, to the point where over 100 billion tons of ice is being lost each year

According to two new studies their collapse is now inevitable. (1) (2)

The only good news about all this is that this is a slow collapse – at least from the perspective of a human life-time. The estimates from these studies give us somewhere between 200-900 years before this collapse is going to happen. However, it took millions of years for that ice to accumulate.

The most unstable part in the Amundsen Sea contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 4 feet (1.2 meters). (3)

The most recent U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report estimates that by 2100, sea level will rise somewhere from just less than 1 foot to about 3 feet (26 to 98 centimeters). But the vast majority of these projections do not take into account the possibility of major ice loss in Antarctica. (3)

The whole West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which if melted completely would raise global sea level by about 16 feet (5 meters). The eventuality of unstoppable Antarctic ice melting caused by greenhouse gases was predicted over 35 years ago (4)

The Antarctic Glaciers reaching the point of no return underscores the importance of decreasing human-made CO2 emissions right now so that we can slow down their inevitable collapse. The time really is now to enact effective climate policies.






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