Glacier threat: Greenland is melting, Antarctica is unstable

Glacier threat: Greenland is melting, Antarctica is unstable

According, Greenland ice sheet is melting faster. However, the main danger harbor ice in Antarctica — these glaciers are more volatile. Scientists came to the conclusion that they could provoke a global flood.

In the last a long period of warming on Earth sea level was at least 4, and can be, and 20 meters higher than today.

Where was all this water, and there is a danger of flooding near coastal cities, home to a huge number of the world's population? Scientists know that most of the period of warming up the oceans due to melting of the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. However, experts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have been surprised by the fact that the main culprit was global flooding is Greenland.

The new study, published in Science, the results of the study of the melting of ice during the last interglacial period, shows that the ice in Grenlandiimozhet be more stable, and the Antarctic on the contrary — is more susceptible to change.

"The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster and faster — said study author Associate Professor of Geophysical Sciences Anders Carlson. — However, despite this obvious observation, we can not say exactly how much sea level rise by the end of this century — perhaps from a few centimeters to a meter. For accurate prediction, we must clearly understand how the ocean's behavior in the past, and the reaction to warming. "

Rating glacier abounds unknown variables and determine rate of melting is a complex problem, which is closely related to the prediction of sea level rise due to climate change. In order to elucidate past behavior of the ice sheet and make a prediction for the future, the team was looking for a way to determine how much ice melted in Greenland during the last interglacial period about 125,000 years ago.

The researchers analyzed silt from the ocean floor near the southern tip of Greenland, where sediments accumulate because of the flow of meltwater. Have used different samples of radioactive isotopes to study the sources of sediment that came from the three regions with different geochemical signatures. If the deposits disappear, we can say that the ice on the surface is completely melted.

To their surprise they found that all the three regions of the Greenland ice sheet have kept for the last interglacial period, while the sea level rose significantly.

The researchers found that the Greenland ice sheet is more stable than previously thought. Melting of the Greenland ice raised sea level by about 1.6-2.2 meters, that is, it gave half the total growth level that is not less than 4 meters. Thus, even after accounting for other Arctic ice and thermal expansion of warmer water, it turns out that most of the flooding was triggered by the melting of Antarctic ice.

This is alarming news because, according to scientists, West Antarctica was much smaller than today. This means that it is the melting of the ice sheet caused the sea level rise and West Antarctica is more unstable than previously thought. That Antarktidamozhet become a "trigger" that will lead to the melting of the Greenland ice and a sharp rise in global sea level.

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