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Global Warming May Soon Melt The Antarctic Ice Sheet, Will Collapse In 100 Years

First Posted: Dec 01, 2016 06:02 AM EST
Pine Island Glacier
The Pine Island Glacier of Antarctic ice sheet has started melting due to global warming.
(Photo : The Antarctic Report/YouTube screenshot)

In the year 2015, a massive chunk of ice, approximately 225 square miles in area, was detached from the Antarctic ice sheet and was set adrift in the ocean.

A recent report published in Live Science narrates that, on the basis of the results obtained after critical analyses of the satellite images before and after the break off along with the pattern of rifting and iceberg detachment, the Pine Island Glacier was broken from the inside out.

Generally, melting of the glaciers starts from the tips and edges due to increase in ambient temperature. According to Ian Howat, a renowned glaciologist from The Ohio State University, the pattern of rifting of Pine Island Glacier indicates that it is still melting from the inside. This may be an indication that the entire West Antarctica may collapse in the near future.

Howat also proposed that "It's generally accepted that it's no longer a question of whether the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will melt, it's a question of when," as quoted by a research news article published in The Ohio State University.

In the past century, climatologists recorded an average temperature increase of 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit due to global warming. This increase in temperature has severe consequences when we consider the subsequent warming of ocean water. As people know, the Antarctic ice sheet is in direct contact with the ocean water. There is a high probability that the ocean water may penetrate into the core of the glacier and melt it from the inside, at the bedrock level, reported CBS News.

Studies on the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica, which is considered as the twin of the already melting Pine Island Glacier, revealed similar patterns of rifting and valley formation in thin ice. Furthermore, scientists recorded a matching pattern of glacier melting due to seepage of warm ocean water and formation of deep subsurface rifts in the Greenland, few years ago.

It is a major concern for climatologists all over the world, because Antarctic ice sheet is the largest singular mass of ice on the face of the Earth. The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets together hold 99 percent of the total fresh water content of the planet. Melting of these ice sheets will not only cause a direct increase in sea level and flooding of coastal areas but it may also cause an imbalance in the wind systems of tropical regions, thereby causing the occurrence of storms and other natural calamities.

It is high time that people focus on the possible consequences of global warming and start devising methods for its prevention and recompensation.

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