Antarctica has become center stage for climate change discussions as more ice shelves become destabilized or are melting entirely. Scientists are now reporting that more ice shelves than previously known are destabilizing, which means that the situation could be significantly worse than what scientists previously thought. Antarctica plays a major role in sea level rise, and that’s something that scientists have been keeping a growing eye on as they become more concerned about coastal cities around the entire world, but specifically in the U.S., where it would appear as though half a dozen of the biggest cities in the country could be jeopardized.
NASA scientists believe that Larson B, and Larson C ice shelves are in imminent danger. In fact, they believe that they could last as little as a half dozen more years before they ultimately vanish. That being said though, some things will have to continue coming together for such a thing to occur. It is the hope of most scientists around the world that political figures, businesses, and the general population can get on to pushing changes that would actually prevent these awful things from happening.
The research team, which was composed of members from France, and Germany pointed out that, “A major portion of the region has, since 2009, destabilized. They went on to point out that it would actually account for “A major fraction of Antarctica’s contribution to rising sea level.” These are severe warning signs that people really shouldn’t be taking lightly at this point. Scientists for years have been saying that we’re nearing irreversible damage, and it would appear as though instances like this are precisely the type of evidence that should be forcing us to stop.
Professor Jonathan Bamber pointed out that, “Around 2009/2010, the surface in this part of the southern Antarctic Peninsula started to lower at a really quite dramatic rate, of 4m per year in some places. That’s a pretty big signal.” He went on to point out that, “The total loss of ice per year is about 60 cubic km. Just to put that into some kind of context: 4 cubic km is roughly equivalent to the domestic water supply of the UK every year.”
Dr. Bert Wouters, the lead author of the study pointed out that, “The westerly winds flowing around Antarctica have increased in strength in recent decades, probably as a result of global warming and changes in the ozone hole.” It was this, combined with the massive changes in habit that were driving the changes and in the process Earth is really going to be feeling the impacts long term. That’s something that previously was hoped to have been avoided. At this point it’s clear that something has to be done.