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Antarctic ice is melting so fast the whole continent may be at risk by 2100 - 22nd Oct

Antarctic ice

A widespread collapse of Antarctic ice shelves – floating extensions of land ice projecting into the sea – could pave way for dramatic rises in sea levels. New research predicts a doubling of surface melting from the ice sheets by 2050. It is claimed that by the end of the century, the melting rate could surpass the point associated with the collapse of the ice shelf. Thereby removing a natural barrier to the flow of ice from glaciers and land-covering ice sheets into the oceans.

This has already been observed in the Antarctic Peninsula where ice shelf collapses have been observed in the last few decades. Model projections suggest similar levels of melt may occur across coastal Antarctica by the end of the century, raising questions about future ice shelf stability.

The observations were based on surface melting and climate simulations up to the next century. It showed that if greenhouse gas emissions continued at their present rate, the Antarctic ice shelves would be in danger of collapse by the century’s end. Under reduced-emission scenarios the ice melting was brought under control after 2050.

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