Yet humanity can change the fate of Antarctica , say scientists investigating the western ice caps.
The collapse of the western Antarctic ice cap , which could cause catastrophic sea level rise, is not “inevitable,” according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Communications.
Scientists have observed since the early 1990s an acceleration of the melting in this area of Antarctica due to climate change.
The fear is that this phenomenon reaches a point of no return, beyond the evolution of the climate.
There is a chance of salvation
Based on satellite and ground data, the rate and extent of disturbances along the west Antarctic coast, particularly the unstable Thwaites Glacier (off the Amundsen Sea), vary by degree, according to this new study. depending on the different local microclimates.
“Ice cap collapse is not inevitable,” said Eric Steig, a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle.
“It depends on how the climate will change in the coming decades, a change that we can positively influence by reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” he added.
In these regions the wind usually blows from the west, which brings warmer and saltier water, which in turn favors melting.
However, the intensity of these winds was weaker in the Amundsen Sea during the observation period, compared to the situation in the Bellingshausen Sea.
Both the Antarctic and the Arctic polar regions have registered an increase in their average temperature of 3º C, compared to the levels of the end of the 19th century, which represents almost three times the world average.
Scientists fear that the Twhaites and Pine Island glaciers are already at that “point of no return.”
“I think we have to live and do our coastal planning under the assumption that the West Antarctic ice cap is unstable and we’re going to experience 12-foot sea level rise,” said Anders Levermann, a climatologist at the Potsdam Institute in Germany.
The expert nonetheless welcomed the study, carried out from multiple sources, although the period analyzed is barely “an eye blink in glacial terms.” (AFP)