The Antarctic Melt: Under the Sea

West coast of AntarticaThe New Yorker, article by Jerry Beilinson 

It’s been an exciting news month for the polar ice sheets. A study published on May 28th in the journal Nature indicated that, fourteen thousand six hundred years ago, the rapid shedding of Antarctic icebergs raised the world’s median ocean levels by six and a half feet in a little more than a hundred years.

That bit of paleoclimatology comes on the heels of a pair of studies, published two weeks ago, concluding that glaciers in the West Antarctic have passed a tipping point and are now doomed to disintegrate and melt. Sea levels will rise by four feet, and up to ten feet if the rest of the West Antarctic ice sheet follows.

A third study concluded that parts of Greenland’s ice cap will be eaten away from below, since it is piled atop newly discovered canyons, which will allow warm ocean water to encroach inland for up to sixty-five miles. The rising waters won’t be witnessed by anyone reading this post, as the really big effects lie hundreds of years in the future.” Read more >

Picture from The New Yorker ©