Humanity is already experiencing the consequences of global warming due to rising temperatures, which often reach record values. But scientists think that the climate crisis and associated with it Melting glaciers may have a much greater impact on the entire planet in the future. If the world’s largest ice sheet were to collapse, sea levels could rise as much as sixteen feet, or five meters. To prevent this, it is said that states need to try to limit the increase in global temperature.
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The Independent reports that if the climate crisis continues, the melting of the East Antarctic ice sheet could cause sea levels to rise by around three meters by 2300 and up to five meters by 2500. The research, led by an international team of scientists, was published in the scientific journal Nature.
States must reduce emissions
However, according to experts, the catastrophic consequences of the crisis could be prevented. States would then have to meet the targets The Paris Agreements seven years old. In it, almost all countries promised to participate in limiting the increase in global temperature to a maximum of one and a half degrees Celsius, or at least well below two degrees Celsius. In that case, according to the research, the sleeping giant would contribute to the rise of the sea level by only half a meter by the year 2500. However, if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, the global temperature will increase by 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100.
Scientists are sounding the alarm
The most important insight the researchers have, according to Australian National University professor and study co-author Nerilia Abramová, is that the sleeping giant is very sensitive to even relatively mild scenarios warming up. According to her, the glacier is not as stable and protected as we thought.
Experts are partly reassured by the fact that much of the sleeping giant lies below sea level, and the only melting can therefore occur due to warm air. Even so, scientists are concerned and are sounding the alarm. According to satellite observations, signs of ice thinning and retreat of the ice sheet are already visible.
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“Achieving and strengthening our commitments under the Paris Agreement would not only protect the world’s largest ice sheet, but also slow the melting of other large ice sheets, such as Greenland and West Antarctica, which are more vulnerable to global warming,” Abramova said.
Slowing down warming is just as important for East Antarctica, according to the professor. Scientists once thought it was less vulnerable than other polar regions, but that’s no longer the case, she said. “The fate of the world’s largest ice sheet remains largely in our hands,” the scientist added.
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More frequent storms and floods
The Guardian writes that the sea level is rising today at the fastest rate in the last three thousand years. The mountain glaciers are melting and the ocean waters are expanding more and more. A rise in water levels of a few meters could have catastrophic consequences for millions of people. Humanity is not far from such a scenario, at least according to some experts. Greenland’s ice sheet, which could cause sea levels to rise by seven meters if it collapses, is on the verge of breaking point. The Greenland ice sheet is disappearing four times faster than in 2003 and contributes twenty percent to current sea level rise.
The World Wild Life portal reports that sea level rise then causes coastal erosion. The warming of the air and ocean also leads to more frequent floods, hurricanes and typhoons. Melting ice also affects wildlife, as walruses and polar bears are losing their homes.