Scientists Say Ice Sheet of West Antarctica Has Begun to Collapse and Believed to Be Unstoppable

Scientists Say Ice Sheet of West Antarctica Has Begun to Collapse and Believed to Be Unstoppable

It appears that giant parts of the ice sheet in West Antarctica have begun to collapse and is believed to be almost undoubtedly unstoppable. Global warming would be behind the quickening of the collapse, reported two different teams of scientists on Monday.

The discovery, which has been worrying many scientists for years, means that, an increase in the sea level worldwide of 10 feet or more may now be unavoidable. The rise might be fairly slow for the next 100 years or so, explained the scientists, but sometime after that, the ocean level will most likely hurry up so suddenly as to where it is considered a disaster in the making.

Thomas Wagner, who is in charge of NASA’s programs on polar ice, stated that the event was really happening now and there was nothing that could be done to stop it. However everything is still limited by the dynamics of how fast ice is able to flow.

Apparently the only thing that is scarier than what science has already learned about global warming is the unforeseen consequences that human beings have to learn. There were two research study papers set for print this week, in the journals Science and Geophysical Research Letters, respectively. They each are trying to make sense of why the hastened flow of glaciers is now happening in various regions of West Antarctica.

Each paper talks about warm water coming from the ocean pits has most likely activated an inherent unsteadiness which made the ice sheet susceptible to a slow motion breakdown. One of the study papers determines that issues many researches had hoped might neutralize such a collapse are not going to do so.

The new discovery seems to be the fulfillment of a calculation which was made back in the late 1970’s by John H. Mercer, who was a professor of the Ohio State University. He had sketched the distinctively vulnerable nature of the West Antarctic ice sheet and cautioned that the fast human discharge of greenhouse gases posed a great disaster threat. The professor was assaulted with words of ridicule at the time, but in recent times scientists have taken note with increasing worry that events have happened in very much the exact way the late Dr. Mercer said it would. He passed away in 1987.

Researchers states that the ice sheet was not melting due to warm air temperatures, but because of the warm water, which is naturally arising, from the depths of the sea. That water is being drawn upward and in the direction of the ice sheet by strengthening of the winds near to the Antarctica.

Many scientists, who study climate change, are seeing a link between the stouter winds and global warming, but they explain that there are other factors also likely working as well. Natural unpredictability of the Earth’s climate could also be at work. Another might be due to the large ozone hole that is located over Antarctica. It was created by a totally different ecological problem, humans releasing ozone destroying gases.

Whatever the reason, they seem to have generated a departure of the ice sheet that cannot be stopped, even if the reasons drawing in the warmer water were to be reversed, stated the researchers. At this time, any lessening in the melting rate would sadly be too little too late. There is no more stabilization mechanism left for the ice.

The straightforward problem is that most of the West Antarctic ice sheet lays below sea level in a type of bowl shaped depression inside the Earth. As Dr. Mercer explained, once that piece of the ice sheet on the edge of the bowl thaws and the ice withdrawals into even deeper water, it then is even more unstable and become extremely susceptible to additional melting.

Giant parts of the ice sheet in West Antarctica have begun to collapse and is believed to be almost undoubtedly unstoppable. This is extremely distressing news, stated two different groups of researchers who have been studying the problem.

By Kimberly Ruble

Sources:

National Geographic News

The N.Y. Times

Business Insider

One Response to "Scientists Say Ice Sheet of West Antarctica Has Begun to Collapse and Believed to Be Unstoppable"

  1. Ray Del Colle   May 13, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    “Ask the majority of climate scientists: Carbon pollution from dirty energy is the main cause of global warming.” http://clmtr.lt/c/G8e0cd0cMJ

    Reply

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