'Even if we manage to stabilize Earth's temperatures by peaking at 2 °C,
Greenland's and Antarctica's vast ice sheets are on track for irreversible
melting, a new study warns.
"If we miss this emission goal, the ice sheets will disintegrate and melt at an
accelerated pace, according to our calculations," explains climate physicist
Axel Timmermann from the Institute for Basic Science in Korea.
Global sea levels have already risen about 20 centimeters on average over the
last century. The calculated acceleration would put one in 10 people at direct
risk from rising sea levels, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres explained at
a Security Council debate in New York.
"For the hundreds of millions of people living in small island developing
states and other low-lying coastal areas around the world, sea-level rise is a
torrent of trouble," he said.
"We would witness a mass exodus of entire populations on a biblical scale."
By including feedback mechanisms that have been missing from previous modeling,
Pusan National University climate scientist Jun Young Park and colleagues
predict a major tipping point is approaching faster than expected.
"Computer models that simulate the dynamics of the ice sheets in Greenland and
Antarctica often do not account for the fact that ice sheet melting will affect
ocean processes, which, in turn, can feed back onto the ice sheet and the
atmosphere," explains Park.
As ice on land and sea continues to thaw at increasingly rates, meltwater
flowing into the ocean concentrates towards the surface, decreasing the
exchange of heat from the depths and driving up temperatures of the subsurface
even further. This added heat risks further eroding the frozen buttresses
holding back Antarctica's ice shelf, causing even more meltwater to flow into
Via Kenny Chaffin, who wrote "Get out yer Snorkel"
*** Xanni ***
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