Two new academic studies released Monday reveal that the crucial West Antarctic ice sheet is now melting, a seemingly unstoppable disaster that could eventually trigger sea levels to rise by more than 14 feet (4.3 metres).
The studies could finally make politicians rethink how climate change is affecting humankind and how society is going to deal with the increasingly expensive cost of mitigating climate change caused by burning fossil fuels overheating our atmosphere.
One of the studies indicates the glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica “have passed the point of no return,” according to glaciologist and lead author Eric Rignot, of UC Irvine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. The new study has been accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
NASA says the glaciers already contribute significantly to sea level rise, releasing almost as much ice into the ocean annually as the entire Greenland ice sheet. “They contain enough ice to raise global sea level by four feet (1.2 metres) and are melting faster than most scientists had expected,” according to a press release.