Antarctica is vanishingÂ before our eyes, and it won’t be long before most of its ice disappears, according to new research. A paper published inÂ NatureÂ on March 31 has revealed that the melting of Antarctica could raise sea levels by as much as three feet before the end of the century. This estimate doubles previous predictions of total sea level rise.
“Polar temperatures over the last several million years have, at times, been slightly warmer than today, yet global mean sea level has been 6â9 metres higher as recently as the Last Interglacial (130,000 to 115,000 years ago) and possibly higher Â during the Pliocene epoch (about three million years ago),” wrote Researchers Robert DeConto and David Pollard in their paper. “In both cases the Antarctic ice sheet has been implicated as the primary contributor, hinting at its future vulnerability.”
Rising sea levels would lead to the destruction of many coastal cities in the U.S., such as Miami and New York City. Flooding and storm surges would inevitably take over these metropolises.
âWeâve been waiting for this paper,” Ben Horton, a sea-level rise researcher at Rutgers University, told Scientific American. “It has societal implications right off the bat.”
If we continue on the worst-possible path, sea levels could rise by as much as 50 feet by 2500. Even in the event that there is only a modest increase in sea levels,Â ice sheets would have trouble re-forming in the coming centuries.
That being said, it might be worth keeping an eye on sea levels as they change. To make things a bit easier, NASA introduced a new Sea Level Change site at the beginning of April where users can observe sea level, ice reach and other climate markers. As skepticism grows with every rising sea level report, this resource may become a go-to for the public — or generally anyone who wants to see what’s happening for themselves.
Whether you’re a big believer in climate change or you need to see some results for yourself, new educational resources are being developed each day, and who can argue with the benefits ofÂ that?
Coldeway, Devin. “NASA’s new sea level site puts climate change papers, data, and tools online.” TechCrunch. Published April 3, 2016.
DeConto, Robert. Pollard, David. “Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise.” Nature. Published March 31, 2016.
Von Kaenel, Camille. “Antarctica Meltdown Could Double Sea Level Rise.” Scientific American. Published March 31, 2016.