The last 50 years the ice cover of the continent disappears ten times faster than in the Middle Ages. In order to stabilize the planet's climate and returned at least to that of the last century, it will take several hundred years, experts believe. But some changes can not be prevented. It's no secret that if the ice in Antarctica and Greenland melt, sea levels will not change much, and it will lead to irreversible climate change and extreme cold weather in the Northern Hemisphere may become the norm.
Thus, it became clear that the Antarctic ice sheet is melting ten times faster than a 600 years ago. This is the conclusion reached by scientists from the UK and Australia. The data are published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
The researchers drilled a well depth of 364 m on James Ross Island. After spending a chemical analysis of ice from the surface and a depth, the researchers found that the average temperature for 600 years has risen by about 1.8 degrees.
"The most intensive melting of the ice started about 50 years ago" — said one of the authors of the research scientist at the Australian National University Nerili Abram. According to him, due to the increased temperature of ice melting rate reached a maximum speed in the last thousand years.
"As global warming summer temperatures are more close to zero, at which the process of melting ice. Under such conditions, the slightest variations in the direction of increasing the temperature immediately entail large-scale melting of the ice sheets of Antarctica" — said Abram. The biggest concern experts was the fact that the process of warming over the past century took place not uniformly but abruptly.
By the way, recently, researchers have found that under the ice of Antarctica is several billion tons of hydrocarbons. Methane release living in deep water organisms that feed on the remains of ancient plants. Measuring the amount of methane they produce, the researchers calculated that its reserves under Antarctic ice is even higher than the reserves at the bottom of the oceans. And in case such amount of methane breaks through breaks in the ice and get into the atmosphere, it threatens catastrophic climate change.