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Scientists believe the collapse of the Antarctic ice cap can be prevented

Humanity can change the destiny of Antarctica, say scientists who investigate the polar caps in the western part.

22 de January de 2023 22:13

A change that we can positively influence is by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The collapse of the polar cap in western Antarctica, which could cause a catastrophic rise in sea levels, is not "inevitable." This is expressed in a study published Monday in the journal Nature Communications .

Since the early 1990s, scientists have observed an acceleration of melting in this area of Antarctica due to climate change.

  The fear is that this phenomenon will reach a point of no return, beyond the evolution of the climate.

According to this new study, based on satellite and field data, the pace and extent of disturbances along the west Antarctic coast, particularly the unstable Thwaites Glacier (off the Amundsen Sea), vary in depending on the different local microclimates.

"The collapse of the ice cap is not inevitable," says Eric Steig , a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle.

"It depends on how the climate will change in the coming decades, a change on which we can positively influence, reducing greenhouse gas emissions," he added.

In these regions the wind usually blows from the west, which brings warmer and saltier water, which in turn favors melting.

However, the intensity of these winds was weaker in the Amundsen Sea during the observation period, compared to the situation in the Bellingshausen Sea.

Both the Antarctic and Arctic polar regions have recorded an increase in their average temperature of 3º C, compared to the levels at the end of the 19th century, which represents almost triple the world average.

Scientists fear that the Twhaites and Pine Island glaciers are already at that "point of no return."

"I think we have to live and develop our coastal planning under the hypothesis that the West Antarctic ice cap is unstable and that we are going to experience a rise of three and a half meters in sea level," said Anders Levermann , a climatologist at the Potsdam Institute in Germany.

The expert still welcomed the study, carried out from multiple sources, although the period analyzed is just "a blink of an eye in glacial terms."

By Agenda Malvinas


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