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Ice melting in Antarctica: act urgently to “avoid a catastrophic future in 40, 50, 60 years”

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Scientists have detected warm ocean water under a massive glacier in western Antarctica, a phenomenon that could accelerate the melting of the glacier and contribute to a sea level rise of more than three meters in a few decades, a announced to Sputnik Eric Rignot, French glaciologist at the University of California at Irvine.

Extremely hot ocean water, especially at 2 ° C, is currently under the Thwaites glacier in the ice cap in western Antarctica, according to the scientific information site EurekAlert.

“So this is a very critical part of Antarctica. This is what is called in particular West Antarctica,” said at the microphone of Sputnik the French glaciologist Eric Rignot, professor of Earth system sciences at the University of California at Irvine.

A worrying rise in sea level

He recalled that the giant Thwaites glacier, which was 120 kilometers wide, reacted to warm water, putting more and more ice in the ocean, which inevitably raised the sea level.

“We are very concerned that the mass loss processes of glaciers are accelerating over time,” said Mr. Rignot.

He explains that the Antarctic glaciers are retreating inland very quickly.

“The glaciers we talk about in Antarctica are retreating faster than any other glacier on the surface of the Earth. These glaciers are receding about one kilometer per year, “said the scientist, adding that the melt rates could be calculated correctly from satellite data.

However, he warns that achieving zero net carbon emissions is not even enough to stop these effects of global warming.

“What we urgently need to do is get our hands on climate control, making sure that what happens in Antarctica does not get worse over time,” said the glaciologist.

He calls for the development of a technology which makes it possible to “sequester” part of the carbon released into the atmosphere in order to be able to return to cooler climatic conditions in Antarctica , which will take a certain time.

“If we tackle it now, it can take a few decades, and it may take a few more decades for the climate to respond. So it is important to start planning and doing this now if we are to avoid a catastrophic future in 40, 50, 60 years, “summed up the interlocutor from Sputnik.

Accelerated melting of Antarctic ice

According to many scientists, the rising waters would soon be a threat to large coastal cities. The South Pole lost nearly 3,000 billion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017, and the melting is only accelerating.

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