As many studies that have been released to confirm the occurrence of climate change, there are still non believers. Well, their minds might have reason to change soon, although it certainly isn’t anything to celebrate.
About 98% of the continent of Antarctica is covered in what is referred to as an “ice sheet”. This sheet is almost five and a half million square miles and is many kilometers thick in some spots. The Western Antarctic Ice Sheet, unlike the Eastern Ice Sheet, is predominantly over water.
This ice sheet, according to two studies done by separate reliable sources, is about to collapse.
Collapse is Imminent
Both the NASA and The University of Washington have been studying the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet and have come to the same conclusion– collapse is imminent. It is happening, and there is nothing that can be done to stop it.
The researchers from the University of Washington focused on studying the topography and developed a computer model of how the collapse is to occur.
The NASA researchers studied the rate of glacier melt in other parts of western Antarctica to compare to the melting of the Ice Sheet.
The two studies together both concurred on the final conclusion that the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet is in fact collapsing, and at an alarming rate for such a large body of ice.
What does this mean?
The melting of polar ice caps, large glaciers, and now this enormous ice sheet are all strong evidence supporting global climate change. Both studies concluded that the main driving factor for the melting and eventual collapse of the ice sheet is warmer temperatures, which are in direct correlation with heat trapping due to greenhouse gas emissions.
Over time, as the ice melts, the sea levels will rise slowly. Then, once the ice reaches a certain point, everything will sort of happen all at once. It won’t happen in your lifetime, however.
The collapse of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet will occur over time and will take 200 to 500 years to happen. If widespread global efforts are made to reduce carbon emissions, pollution, and other contributing factors, it could take up to 1000 years.
Just because the actual collapse will not happen in our lifetime does not mean that it should be ignored, however. This strong evidence of climate change and how it is drastically affecting the Earth should be an incentive to clean up our act and work harder to protect the planet.
What can we do?
There is really nothing that can be done about the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet at this point. The ice has reached a point beyond help, and what is done cannot be reversed. The most we can do for the ice sheet at this point is slow the progress, but even that would take a massive worldwide effort.
For now, what everyone can do is work to be as clean, “green”, and efficient as possible. Join local efforts to clean and help prevent pollution, and take steps to avoid wasting precious resources like gas, electricity, and water. If you are able, drive a hybrid or electric car to reduce your carbon footprint, and/or install a solar panel on your home to maximize clean energy consumption.
We are not helpless in the fight against climate change. We cannot make every person see the truth, or force people to live greener lives. What we can do is help to spread the word and take steps to live cleaner lives and protect the planet.