Science 2 min read

How Ice Loss in Antarctic Impacts Global Sea Level

Sarah N /

Sarah N /

The Antarctic ice sheet‘s current form has persisted for roughly 34 million years.

However, that’s quickly changing due to global warming. Earlier this year, scientists recorded temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius in the region for the first time.

According to researchers, the full mass of ice in Antarctica holds enough water to raise sea levels by up to 58 meters.

While the ice sheet won’t collapse in the coming years or decade, Antarctic ice loss is accelerating. As such, it becomes vital to understand how the collapse might occur and its effect on the global sea level.

That’s what a team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) sought to do in a recent study.

In a statement to the press, co-author of the paper from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Anders Levermann said:

“The more we learn about Antarctica, the direr the predictions become. We get enormous sea level rise [from Antarctic melting] even if we keep to the Paris agreement, and catastrophic amounts if we don’t.”

The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature.

How the Ice Loss in Antarctic Will Raise Global Sea Level

According to the researchers, a 6°C temperature rise above industrial levels could raise the global sea levels by 12 meters. Similarly, a 4°C increase will also cause the oceans to rise by 6.5 meters.

Even if we managed to achieve the Paris Agreement goals of 2°C, the global sea level would still rise by 2.5 meters.

Again, this collapse is unlikely to occur in the next few years. Indeed, the Antarctic’s vast ice caps will take centuries to melt. However, the researchers pointed out that the changes are most likely irreversible.

“In other words: What we lose of Antarctica now, is lost forever,” Levermann said.

The researchers noted that failing to reduce greenhouse emissions could raise temperatures above 4°C. At this point, sea levels could bury the world’s coastal cities and cause devastation on a global scale.

“If we give up the Paris Agreement, we give up Hamburg, Tokyo, and New York,” Levermann concluded.

Read More: Earth to Pass Dangerous Global Warming Limit by 2024

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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