Two separate studies released this week are announcing a bleak future for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet — and an accompanying sea-level rise across the globe. Both groups of researchers conclude that global warming is accelerating the disintegration of large parts of the ice sheets, and that the melting that is already under way is likely unstoppable. This, the researchers say, will eventually cause global sea levels to rise by at least 10 feet.
The first study, published today in Science by researchers at the University of Washington, used computer modeling and topography maps to conclude that the collapse of the Thwaites Glacier, an extremely large glacier flowing into Pine Island Bay, is already underway. This process, the researchers say, could be completed within the next few centuries and would cause the ocean to rise by nearly 2 feet. Furthermore, because that glacier is currently acting as a barrier for the rest of the ice sheet, its collapse could ultimately trigger a 10-13 foot rise in global sea levels. Read More