‘Ice Apocalypse’ is the title of a new article written by meteorologist, Eric Holthaus, a contributing writer at Grist. The basic premise of rapid collapse of Antarctic glaciers will flood coastal cities. Holthaus begins, in a remote region of Antarctica known as “Pine Island Bay,” 2500 miles from the north of South America, two glaciers have put the human civilization on stake. More than 150 miles long, and these glaciers named Pined Island and Thwaites have marched steadily for millennia towards the Amundsen Sea part of vast southern ocean.
Further inland, the glaciers widen into a two-mile thick reserve of Ice, covering an area of the size of Texas. There is no doubt this Ice will melt as the world warms. The vital question is when? The article then notes how Thwaites has been dubbed as the “doomsday glacier” and together with Pine Island could contribute 11 feet of sea-level rise.
Multiple meters of difference in sea level height will make a profound impact on every coastal city in the world. Hence the question about how fast these glaciers will collapse, is one of the most important scientific questions. The bad news? Holthaus asks. There is growing evidence that the Pine Island Bay glaciers collapse rapidly 11,000 years ago when the global temperatures were similar to today, flooding the world’s coastlines, partially the result of something called “marine ice-cliff instability.”
The ocean floor gets deeper from the midst of Antarctica. As a new iceberg falls apart, it creates much larger cliffs. At this point, the weight of the ice increases, and lastly, these giant glaciers are unable to lift. Ice gets so heavy that these massive cliffs are unable to maintain the balance. Once the disintegration starts, the devastation would be unstoppable. For many years, Scientists have recognized marine ice-cliff instability as a continuous process that can initiate the downfall of the whole West Antarctic ice sheet in the present era. And even much more quickly than previously thought. A wholesome collapse of Pine Island and Thwaites could start a humoungus destruction. Giant icebergs would stream away from Antarctica.
The chance of high tides across the world will rise to its maximum. Slowly burying every shore-line, it would start flooding coastal cities, and this will eventually end up forcing Thousands of climate refugees. It is a possibility that all this chaos can take place with 20 to 50 years, much too quickly for humanity to adapt. With marine ice-cliff instability, sea-level rise for the coming years is probably much higher than we thought it might be five or ten years ago.
A new concern is driven by the research of climatologists Rob Deconto at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and David Pollard at Pen State University. A study that was published last year was the first to understand the latest insight into the instability of marine ice-cliff. And it’s growing into Antarctica.
This is surely a thought-provoking moment for the scientists to calculate the scale of damage that is expected to come.
Picture credit: ALEXANDRE MENEGHINI / REUTERS
Original Article: https://climaticwatch.com/post/-Lqo–PQlasRy3_MxctH