A recent study suggests that despite efforts to reduce carbon emissions, a significant portion of Antarctica is still expected to experience gradual collapse.

According to a recent study, even if the world reduces carbon emissions significantly, a significant portion of Antarctica is still expected to experience unavoidable melting.

The process of complete melting will span several hundred years, gradually increasing sea levels by approximately 6 feet (1.8 meters). This will significantly alter the landscape and the way in which humans inhabit it in the years to come, according to the primary author of the study.

Scientists utilized computer models to predict the potential melting of ice shelves in the Amundsen Sea, located in western Antarctica. The findings, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, indicate that even if global warming is kept to a minimum, it may not be enough to prevent the warming of the ocean and potential disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

According to Kaitlin Naughten, an oceanographer at the British Antarctic Survey, our primary inquiry was to determine the extent of our influence on ice shelf melting and the potential for reduction through decreased emissions. However, the findings from our simulations do not bode well. It appears that we are bound to experience a significant rise in ocean warming and ice shelf melting in the coming decades.

Previous research has discussed the severity of the situation, but Naughten was the pioneer in utilizing computer simulations to examine the primary factor of warm water melting ice from below. The study examined four potential scenarios for the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere and found that in all cases, the ocean warming was too great for this portion of the ice sheet to endure.

Naughten observed ice shelves melting at the gatekeeper, a location in Antarctica situated below sea level. Once these shelves melt, it creates a pathway for glaciers to flow into the ocean unrestricted.

Naughten’s analysis focused on the potential effects of limiting future warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above mid-19th century levels, as per the international goal. Despite these efforts, the findings suggest that the melting process would still continue at an alarming rate. Currently, the world has already experienced a 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in temperature since pre-industrial times, with this summer even surpassing the 1.5 degree mark temporarily.

Naughten’s research focused on the vulnerable portion of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet near the Amundsen Sea that is prone to melting from underneath. This region includes the enormous Thwaites ice shelf, which has earned the moniker “the Doomsday Glacier” due to its rapid melting. While West Antarctica makes up only one-tenth of the southern continent, it is less stable compared to the larger eastern side.

According to Eric Rignot, an ice scientist from the University of California Irvine who was not involved in the study, that portion of Antarctica is facing inevitable destruction. The harm has already been inflicted.

Ted Scambos, an ice scientist at the University of Colorado who was not involved in the research, stated that the ice sheet will eventually collapse. He expressed this as an unwilling conclusion, and with a sense of reluctance.

Naughten avoids using the term “doomed” as she believes that in 100 years, the world may be able to not only halt, but even reduce carbon levels in the atmosphere and address global warming. However, she acknowledges that the current situation on the ground is a gradual decline that cannot be prevented, at least within this century.

According to Naughten, it is inevitable that some of this territory will be lost. The issue will only continue to worsen, but it is not certain that we will lose all of it as sea levels rise gradually over time. The study only examines up to 2100, so there may still be some measures we can take beyond that point.

According to Naughten, regardless of the language used, she and fellow researchers have determined that this section of Antarctica is beyond salvation.

According to Naughten’s research, the specific impact of melting ice on sea levels and the rate at which it would occur was not determined. However, she approximated that if all the ice in the most vulnerable area were to melt, it would result in a sea level rise of approximately 1.8 meters (5.9 feet).

She stated that it would be a gradual process that would take place over the next several centuries, spanning from the 2300s to the 2500s.

According to Naughten, although it may seem distant, it is worth considering that the actions taken by the Victorians in the 1800s could have significantly altered our world today.

Naughten stated that while a sea level rise of this magnitude would have a catastrophic impact if it occurred within 200 years, if it were spread out over a period of 2,000 years, humans could potentially adjust and adapt.

According to Naughten, coastal communities will need to adapt by either constructing infrastructure or facing abandonment.

According to Naughten, although this specific area of Antarctica’s ice sheet is likely to disappear, there is still potential to preserve other susceptible parts of the planet’s environment by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, it is still important to take action in reducing carbon pollution.

Twila Moon, the deputy chief scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, expressed concern that the research may only be perceived as negative and discouraging by the general public. She was not involved in the study.

According to Naughten, the outlook appears bleak. However, based on scientific evidence, this is the message I must convey to the public.

According to Naughten, former NASA scientist Kate Marvel stated that in regards to climate change, courage is more important than hope. Courage is the determination to take action without the guarantee of a positive outcome.


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Source: wral.com