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Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

UW Study Finds Glacial Melting Inevitable


west-antarctic-ice-sheet

According to this article in The Seattle Times, a new study out of the UW labels the collapse of large portions of the Antarctic ice sheet inevitable, projecting sea levels to rise by several feet. The only malleable factor seems to be that of timeframe; how the world responds to climate change determining whether the collapse occurs in hundreds or thousands of years. Further danger lies in the way other ice sheets will respond to initial melting, which could transform a few feet of sea level rise into twelve feet or more. In a computer simulation of projected melting, UW researchers found that no matter what the initial degree of melting was, the connecting glacier still vanished as a result.

This knowledge, however, comes with the silver lining of awareness; if the people eventually affected by climate change know these consequences in advance, they will have time to move inland, away from the projected field of flooding. And the longer we can push the melting back, the more time we will have to prepare. The method of prevention, of course, is a reduction in our emission of greenhouse gases. Warming the ocean will have a dramatic effect on sea level rise, but our behavior will have a large impact on just how dramatic this comes about.

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