Western Antarctica Ice Sheet Melt can Cause Higher Sea Level Rise than Estimated
Amid the pandemic, the climate crisis may seem like a distant threat. But Harvard University researchers have warned that the melt of the Western Antarctica ice sheet could cause a global sea-level rise by 13 ft – a worse outcome as predicted by the scientists.
The researchers have found that the ice sheet is producing more water than estimated. The rising global temperature means that there is the possibility of the West Antarctica ice sheet – ranging about 750,000 cubic miles, collapsing within the next 1,000 years. The ice melt can increase the sea levels by 10 ft on current levels.
The process of water expulsion – where the sheet ‘bounces’ as the ice melts, forces the surrounding water into the ocean to cause an extra 3ft of global rise on top of what is generated by ice melt.
The team has also estimated the magnitude of sea-level increase based on the low viscosity of the mantle beneath the iceberg. The calculation reveals that there is a high possibility of the water expulsion effect. The magnitude of its effect is intense. Previous studies have considered it as an inconsequential mechanism, which proves to be highly possible today.
The study finds that no matter what the scenario is, it would be far worst than what is estimated. It was then concluded by Linda Pan, lead author of this study that this melt would engulf the low-lying regions, islands, and coastal cities in the future.
It would be a disastrous situation as most of the well-developed cities reside near the coastal regions. Ms. Pan says that sea levels would not stop rising even if ice stops melting. The damage to coastlines will continue for centuries.