Collapse of West Antarctic Ice Sheet may pose threat to nations in southern Indian OceanFebruary 6th, 2009 - 2:18 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Feb 6 (ANI): University of Toronto geophysicists have predicted that following the collapse of West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the coastlines of North America and of nations in the southern Indian Ocean will face the greatest threats from the resulting rising sea levels.
There is widespread concern that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be prone to collapse, resulting in a rise in global sea levels, said geophysicist Jerry X. Mitrovica, who, along with physics graduate student Natalya Gomez and Oregon State University geoscientist Peter Clark, are the authors of the new study.
Weve been able to calculate that not only will the rise in sea levels at most coastal sites be significantly higher than previously expected, but that the sea-level change will be highly variable around the globe, said Gomez.
Scientists are particularly worried about the ice sheet because it is largely marine-based, which means that the bedrock underneath most of the ice sits under sea level, said Mitrovica.
The West Antarctic is fringed by ice shelves which act to stabilize the ice sheet. These shelves are sensitive to global warming, and if they break up, the ice sheet will have a lot less impediment to collapse, he added.
According to Mitrovica, if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapses, the rise in sea levels around many coastal regions will be as much as 25 per cent more than expected, for a total of between six and seven metres if the whole ice sheet melts.
Thats a lot of additional water, particularly around such highly populated areas as Washington, D.C., New York City, and the California coastline, he added.
There is still some important debate as to how much ice would actually disappear if the West Antarctic Ice sheet collapses some fraction of the ice sheet may remain quite stable, said Mitrovica.
But, whatever happens, our work shows that the sea-level rise that would occur at many populated coastal sites would be much larger than one would estimate by simply distributing the meltwater evenly, he added. (ANI)
- Melting glacial ice sheets 'may not raise sea levels after all' - Nov 22, 2010
- Ice Shelves on Antarctic Peninsula in danger - Feb 23, 2010
- Sea levels may rise much higher, says fossil study - Jul 16, 2012
- Warm ocean currents cause ice loss from Antarctica - Apr 26, 2012
- Evidence from octopus hints at ice sheet collapse - May 10, 2012
- Scientists estimate sea level rise by studying past carbon dioxide levels - May 02, 2011
- Scientists pinpoint cause of past sea level rises - Jul 12, 2012
- Global warming curbs won't prevent steep sea rise - Mar 21, 2012
- Ice shelves attached to Antarctica are disappearing - Feb 23, 2010
- Sea levels might rise or fall if warming continues - Sep 12, 2011
- Greenland ice sheet is safer than scientists previously believed - Jan 27, 2011
- Melting glaciers to contribute 12cm to world sea-level increases by 2100 - Jan 11, 2011
- US coastal cities at risk if Antarctic ice sheet collapses - May 15, 2009
- Antarctica was once a tropical paradise - Aug 02, 2012
- Vanishing ice shelves in Antarctic Peninsula could result in sea-level rise - Feb 23, 2010
Tags: antarctic ice sheet, bedrock, california coastline, coa, coastal regions, coastlines, geophysicist, geophysicists, geoscientist, global sea levels, impediment, mitrovica, natalya, oregon state university, physics graduate, rising sea levels, sea level change, sea level rise, southern indian ocean, west antarctic ice sheet