According to a recent study from the University of California, in the last 4 decades, Antartica has seen ice melting 280% faster. The obvious cause of the accelerating ice melting is the intensifying effects of global warming.
This study documents how fast the ice has been melting over the last 39 years and the results are as expected. As global warming continues to get worse, and the global temperature rises and oceans get warmer, Antartica is melting faster.
What’s the Big Deal About Antartica Melting
For starters, the rising sea levels that are being recorded are directly related to ice sheets melting. A scary thought is what would happen if all of Antartica melted. The sea level would rise about 200 feet (60 meters), which would completely cover any cities or structures found on the coastline.
However, don’t worry, that wouldn’t happen for a very long time, but keep in mind we are already melting 280% faster, so the time table is constantly changing.
New Snow Does Not Offset Ice Melted
A past study considered that new snowfall would counter the effects of ice melting, but this study disproved it. The new snowfall that has been recorded has not been enough to offset what was lost by the accelerated ice melting. What this really means is that Antartica could really disappear if this trend continues or worsens.
East Antartica Vs. West Antartica
One thing that most people do not realize is that most research in Antartica takes place in West Antartica. West Antartica is found to contribute more to the ice that is melted, but what is shocking about this study is that East Antartica has not been far behind over the last 39 years. Overall, due to the lack of research that takes place in East Antartica, more research is needed to come to conclusions about the stability of East Antartica.
Animal Are At Risk
The major focus of these types of studies are usually what effects humans will see, but the animals that reside in these climates will be the first victims of global warming. Penguins, seals, whales, and many other species reside in Antartica. Many of these species cannot survive anywhere else in the world. The melting of the ice sheets will destroy their habitat and endanger their species.
What is Causing the Acceleration of the Melting
The increased release of greenhouse gases into the air is the direct cause of increased global warming effects. However, that doesn’t mean the proper actions are being taken. In fact, the Emissions Gap Report 2018 showcased exactly how far off we are from those promises.
Not only did the report show how big the gap is, but it also pointed out that carbon dioxide emissions are on the rise again after being stable for four years. However, thanks to this news more countries are doubling down on improving the emissions control.
Controlling the emissions released and slowing down the temperature increase will play a major role in deaccelerating the ice melting rate.
Everyone Can Make A Difference
It is easy to point the finger at governments for not regulating emissions more effectively or at businesses for producing so many emissions in the first place. However, every single person can make a difference when it comes to climate change. By reducing the number of red meats eaten, driving less, using less energy at home, recycling, and many other simple actions, anyone can make a difference.