Collapse of Antarctic glaciers seems to be unstoppable

Science and research NEWS

Parts of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet are already collapsing and probably can’t be saved. Two independent studies suggest that several glaciers have gone past the point of no return, dooming them to fall into the sea and cause several metres of sea level rise. However the collapse will take centuries.

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is slowly collapsing <i>(Image: James Yungel/NASA)</i>

“A large sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has gone into irreversible retreat,” says Eric Rignot of the University of California at Irvine, who led one of the studies. “We’ve gone beyond the point of no return.”

A study led by Ian Joughin of the University of Washington in Seattle focuses on the Thwaites glacier, a key component of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet(WAIS). It predicts that the glacier will collapse completely within 200 to 1000 years, raising global sea levels by about 60 centimetres.

But because the Thwaites glacier keeps much…

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Interested in all things about the Planet.
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