Temperatures in West Antarctica have increased over 4°F over the past 50 years or so, says a new study published in Nature Geoscience, reports Michael Lemonick at Climate Central. This is far more than scientists have thought, and close to the 5°F rise on the nearby Antarctic Peninsula, the fastest-warming region on Earth. Unlike Arctic ice, which floats on water and doesn’t contribute to sea level rise when it melts, Antarctic ice sits on land. As it melts, flowing into the sea, it does raise sea levels. Thus, the current heating seriously concerns the study’s authors: West Antarctica holds enough fresh water to raise sea level by 11 feet if all the ice melted, and even a fraction of that amount could prove catastrophic to coastal areas where hundreds of millions of people live. In fact, the 8 inches or so of sea level rise since 1900 is already enough to have boosted storm surges, put pressure on infrastructure as in South Florida and exposed millions of Americans to the danger of coastal flooding. The additional 3-foot rise expected by 2100 will make all of these problems vastly worse.
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Soaring temps in West Antarctica may fuel sea level rise. Temperatures in West Antarctica have increased by 4.3°F over the past 50 years or so, according to a new paper in Nature Geoscience. It’s a cause for serious concern because West Antarctica holds enough fresh water to raise sea level by 11 feet if all the ice melted. Climate Central http://www.climatecentral.org/news/soaring-temperatures-in-west-antarctica-could-destabilize-ice-15409
***** Check out seven reasons to mourn the loss of Arctic ice (and the great graphics!) – not only does the ice reflect away heat, but acts as a buffer between the warmer water and colder air.