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Science And Nature

World’s biggest ice sheet might lead to massive sea rise without action: study

The A-68 iceberg was one of the largest ever observed
The A-68 iceberg was among the largest ever observed.

The world’s biggest ice sheet might lead to “several meters” of sea-level rise over centuries if the global temperature rises a lot more than 2C, in accordance with a British study published Wednesday.

Researchers at Durham University figured if global greenhouse emissions remain high, the melting East Antarctica Ice Sheet (EAIS) might lead to nearly half of a meter of sea-level rise by 2100. Their analysis was published in the scientific journal Nature.

If emissions remain high beyond that, the EAIS could contribute around someone to three meters to global sea levels by 2300, and two to five meters by 2500, they said.

However, if emissions were dramatically reduced, EAIS could contribute around two centimeters of sea level rise by 2100, based on the assessment.

This might represent much less compared to the ice loss expected from Greenland and West Antarctica.

“An integral conclusion from our analysis is that the fate of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet remains quite definitely inside our hands,” said lead author Chris Stokes, from Durham University’s Department of Geography.

“This ice sheet is undoubtedly the largest on earth, containing the same as 52 meters of sea level and it’s really really important that people usually do not awaken this sleeping giant.

“Restricting global temperature increases to below the 2C limit set by the Paris Climate Agreement should imply that we steer clear of the worst-case scenarios, or simply even halt the melting of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, and for that reason limit its effect on global sea level rise,” he added.

Computer simulations

The analysis did remember that the worst scenarios projected were “most unlikely”.

World leaders agreed at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris to limit global warming to well below 2C and pursue efforts to limit the rise to at least one 1.5C.

The study team, including scientists from the united kingdom, Australia, France and the united states, analyzed the way the ice sheet taken care of immediately past warm periods when coming up with their predictions.

They ran computer simulations to model the consequences of different greenhouse gas emission levels and temperatures on the ice sheet by the years 2100, 2300 and 2500.

They found evidence to claim that three million years back, when temperatures were around 2-4C greater than present, area of the EAIS “collapsed and contributed several meters to sea-level rise”.

“Even while recently as 400,000 years agonot that way back when on geological timescalesthere is evidence a portion of the EAIS retreated 700 km inland in reaction to only 1-2C of global warming,” they added.

Nerilie Abram, a co-author of the analysis from the Australian National University in Canberra, warned the sheet “isn’t as stable and protected once we once thought.”



More info: Chris Stokes, Response of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to past and future climate change, Nature (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-04946-0. www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04946-0

2022 AFP

Citation: World’s biggest ice sheet might lead to massive sea rise without action: study (2022, August 13) retrieved 14 August 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-08-world-biggest-ice-sheet-massive.html

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