by Robert Wilkinson
Everywhere else too, if it's near a body of water that connects to the oceans. I found an interesting article on what Antarctica would look like without its ice, which is melting faster with each year. While one side of the continent has more ice, the most unstable side is losing its sheets very quickly, exposing deep ice to increased rate of melt.
I'm not an alarmist, and I thought this brought some good facts to light, especially about how much water is actually stored at our South Pole. Sorry if the title freaked anyone out, since it's at best a remote possibility in our lifetimes.
From an interesting story by Brian Merchant titled This Is What Antarctica Will Look Like After We've Melted It, we find an interesting graphic on the actual continent as if there were no ice. In the lead-in, we read “British and Australian climatologists have confirmed that summer ice melt in Antarctica is now ten times as intense as it was 600 years ago—the melt is now happening faster than it has at any point over the last 1,000 years.” It is reasonable to assume this is not a good development given what seems to have been set into long term motion.
The British Antarctic Survey used millions of computer measurements to figure out how much ice is there, the liquid volume of that ice, and what the land mass below the ice actually looks like. From the story:
Some of the findings that resulted from Bedmap2 surprised the scientists. For instance, the volume of ice in Antarctica is actually 4.6% greater than previously thought. That also means that there's more ice that's prone to rapid melting, and more ice that can leech into the sea to raise the water levels worldwide.
In total, Bedmap2 reveals that if all of Antarctica's permanent ice melted, it would lead to 58 meters, or 190 feet, of sea level rise. That's adios, New York City.
... other interesting facts gleaned from the ice-free Antarctic survey:
The mean bed depth of Antarctica, at 95 meters (311 feet), is 60 meters (196 feet) lower than estimated
The volume of ice that is grounded with a bed below sea level is 23% greater than originally thought meaning there is a larger volume of ice that is susceptible to rapid melting. The ice that rests just below sea level is vulnerable to warming from ocean currentsThe new deepest point, under Byrd Glacier, is around 400 meters (1,312 feet) deeper than the previously identified deepest point
Currently, that deepest point is covered in ice—nearly two miles thick. But, with more carbon dioxide trapped in the atmosphere than there has been in about 3 million years, that ice isn't likely to stay put.
By all means, go over to the original story via the link and check out the graphics. It’s worth the trip.
Though I doubt that all of Antarctica will melt any time soon, it is a fact that the ice shelves are rapidly thinning, exposing the inland above ground ice to increased melt. So it is happening, probably at varying rates depending on the time of the year and orientation toward the Sun.
It is also a fact that when the Greenland ice sheet slips into the Atlantic due to increasing melt over the coming months and years, it will create a rise of 3-20 feet in the oceans depending on how much slips. And it seems the Brit and NASA scientists are now giving us numbers that indicate If Antarctica were ever to completely melt (not an impossibility with a polar shift) then the waters will rise 190 feet.
I suspect our grandchildren will live in a much different world than we do. And after we move through what is to come, then much that is wrong with our world will no longer exist. We are learning to experience our connectedness, our need for cooperation, and to be in conscious community with All-That-Is. It sure seems that getting from what has been to what will be is a wild ride!
© Copyright 2013 Robert Wilkinson