Studies on the global warming they bring, more and more, alarming data. Now, scientists have observed that the melting of the ice sheet West Antarctica is even worse than previous research showed. The melting of the place will raise the sea level much more than predicted.
The new calculations of the collapse of the mantle of ice refer to a water expulsion mechanism. This is because the solid rock on which this frozen plate is bouncing upwards as it melts and the weight decreases. Harvard University researchers published the study in the journal Science Advances.
- Humanity can no longer depend on the Amazon, says study
- Global warming has changed the way the North Pole 'floats', study suggests
- Satellite images show acceleration of glacier melting
The West Antarctic ice sheet is below the sea level. So, when the rocky surface rises, it pushes water around to the ocean, increasing the sea level on the planet. The predictions of the new study suggest that a total collapse of the frozen plaque would add one meter to sea level in a thousand years.
“The magnitude of the effect shocked us. Previous studies considered the mechanism inconsequential, ”said Dr. Linda Pan, from Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, who co-led the study with Evelyn Powell.
The widely released estimates previously said that a collapse of the mantle in the icy continent would result in a 3,2 meter rise in sea level. "We have shown that the water expulsion mechanism will add one meter, or 30%, to the total," explained Powell.
The scientists warn, however, that they are not just effects for the next millennium. The simulations showed that by the end of the 21st century, the increase caused by the melting in Antarctica will raise the water expulsion mechanism by 20%. This obliges all climate models that extend until the end of the century to be revised.
"No matter what scenario we use for the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet, we always find that extra meter in rising sea levels," commented Pan.
The conclusion is that the sea level rise does not stop simply because all the ice has melted. "The damage we are doing to our coastlines will continue for centuries," concluded the Harvard researcher.