Updated 10:29 AM EST, Fri, Feb 28, 2020

Antarctica Glaciers Increasingly Melt Due to Warm Weather, How This Will Affect the World As We Know It

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In 2014, research showed that oceanfront glaciers in the Amundsen Sea in West Antarctica has reached a point of "unstoppable" retreat due to the warm waters melting the continent from below. This is especially terrifying considering that the area is said to have enough ice to raise global sea levels by over 10 feet if they were all to melt, submerging a lot of the planet in water.

And it seems that the concern is more urgent than ever. In a report by The Huffington Post, it seems that the research suggesting the destabilization of the Amundsen sea glaciers will undermine West Antarctica, making the fear of the rise of sea levels legitimate.

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact researchers Johannes Feldmann and Anders Leverman used a climate model to study what will happen in case the glaciers will fully destabilize and they found that if the Amundsen Sea does indeed destabilize, "the entire marine part of West Antarctica will be discharged into the ocean."

But while this is enough cause for concern, West Antarctica is not actually the most pressing ice sheet to be concerned about, as it is the smallest of three to make an impact. For instance, Greenland has enough ice for a potential 20-foot sea level rise, while East Antarctica is the vastest with nearly 200 feet of sea level rise.

The concern for West Antarctica, despite its small sheet, comes with the fact that it is said to be the most vulnerable to large-scale change as the Amundsen Sea glaciers are rooted on a seabed that slopes downward the more one moves inland, with some places already plunging over a mile below sea level. It's the largest glacier, the Thwaites, is said to be larger than Pennsylvania and is over a mile thick in some places.

It's not that it's all melting. Generally, as reported by Newsweek, the whole of Antarctica is gaining more ice than it's losing, but according to the team of researchers from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, the continent's ice gain has been decreasing, and if it keeps up, it will take only about 20 to 30 years before the ice melt outweighs the ice gains -- which means we're not in the clear as far as sea level rise is concerned.

NASA Glaciologist Jay Zwally said, "The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away. But this is also bad news. If the 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise attributed to Antarctica in the IPCC report is not really coming from Antarctica, there must be some other contribution to sea level rise that is not accounted for."

Whatever the cause of sea level rise, one thing is clear: Global Warming is real.

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