Ice in Antarctica melts six times faster than in the 1980s. Only Greenland glaciers have caused a 13.7 mm rise in sea level in the past 45 years. However, the forecasts for the next centuries are not as pessimistic as was believed.
The average increase in sea level is usually due to the expansion of seawater as it heats up or, as is the case, to water from ice sheets and glaciers when it melts. The melting of Antarctica is responsible for 20 or 25% of the said flood. With this panorama, the scientists do not stop devising numerical models to make more and more precise forecasts for the next years and centuries. A team from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena (California), has managed to go one step further in understanding that effect caused by the melting of Antarctica on sea level and its evolution in the future.
How much will sea level rise?
“Unlike most other current models, we have included solid Earth processes in the measurements, such as the elastic rebound of the rock under the ice and the impact of changes in sea level very close to the ice sheet” says Eric Larour, one of the authors of the study. The new models, which use a much broader resolution, predict that by 2350 the melting of the ice sheet and its contribution corresponding to sea level rise will be approximately 29 % less than the previous projections had indicated for that same date.
What they do agree is in the forecasts for the next 100 years: “Around the year 2250, some of these solid processes on Earth will begin to compensate for the melting of the ice sheet and the consequent rise in sea level.” This deceleration is what would explain that the forecasts are less alarmist in terms of sea level rise than what the previous models indicated. “One of the main things we learned was that, as ice on land is removed inland, the bottom rock rises elastically,” says Erik Ivins, co-author of the study, who compares it to the way it decompress a cushion when weight is removed.
The study, published in Science, does not want to reduce gravity to the situation of melting glaciers, but it does highlight the possibility of measuring its impact more accurately and applying the model to the rest of the planet.
668 Wyatt Street, Pompano Beach FL 33069
Latest posts by George Cline (see all)
- Some Good News In Antarctica - April 30, 2019
- How Did Bees Get Their Stripes? - April 30, 2019
- The Sports Jacket of The Future Will Be Made of Squid Skin - April 29, 2019