Satellite radar composite view of Antarctica. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is penned in by mountain ranges and the floating ice of the Ross Ice Shelf. Most of the WAIS rests on rock that is below sea level. American Institute of Physics.
West Antarctic Ice Sheet Starts Collapsing:
Unstoppable; Seas to Rise 12-15 Feet, say two new studies, reports Suzanne Goldenberg at the UK Guardian, changing coastlines worldwide. Melting is unstoppable, and happening far faster than previously thought.
OO Although the Amundsen Sea region is only a fraction of the whole West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the region contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by 4 feet (1.2 meters). Credit: NASA/GSFC/SVS
The Thwaites Glacier acts as a plug for the rest of the ice sheet. Climate change is warming waters, which are melting the underbelly the glacier. It could melt completely in 200 years, causing seas to rise 2 feet; the rest of the sheet, unplugged, will follow, raising seas another 10-13 feet.
This new information means that by 2100, seas will more likely rise closer to 2 or 3 feet, rather than the lower Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates of a foot or less.
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