Antarctic glaciers are melting at a rapid pace, scientists warn after comparing the data registered after 2009 in the Southern Antarctic Peninsula. Based on their calculations, the region did not pose any real threats until 2009 as the ice shelves did not melt.
A team of researchers at the University of Bristol, UK declared itself really concerned about the recent changes going on in the Southern region of the Antarctic Peninsula. They have performed various tests in order to find the exact water levels that were registered in the past years.
Scientists have, thus, found that these Antarctic glaciers could lead to uncontrollable rises in water levels due to their gradual melting. They have further explained that the region has been neglected in the past years as the ice shelf did not register significant changes until 2009.
Despite the good results that were registered previous to 2009, scientists at the University of Bristol have noticed important changes after this year. According to their measurements, the 750km ice shelf started shedding ice in the ocean at a rapid pace of 60 cubic km per year. The ice volume represents 55 trillion liters of water that are shed in the ocean every year; thus causing water levels to rise alarmingly.
Antarctica is currently the second region contributing to an increase in water levels. What’s more worrisome, the melting of the ice does not seem to cease in the near future. According to the recent discoveries, the melting Antarctic glaciers will contribute with approximately 4m of water each year to the levels of the ocean.
The total amount of added water levels that were registered in the past years accounts to 300 cubic km. Special computer programs have revealed that this quantity of water could be used to fill 350, 000 Empire State Buildings.
The thinning of the ice shelf does not pose risks only for water levels on Earth. Recent images recorded by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) show that the melting ice could also affect the structure of the Earth’s atmosphere. More specifically, the rising amounts of ocean waters will soon lead to changes in the gravity field of the Earth.
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