West Antarctic Ice Cap Collapse Not Inevitable, New Study Suggests
A new study published Monday in the journal Nature Communications suggests that the collapse of the Western Antarctic ice cap, which could result in catastrophic sea level increase, is not “inevitable”.
Using satellite and ground data, the study focused on the instabilities on the West Antarctic coast, especially the Thwaites Glacier, and noted that the intensity of the winds in the Amundsen Sea was weaker when compared to the situation in the Bellinghausen Sea.
Eric Steig, a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle said, “Ice cap collapse is not inevitable. It depends on how the climate will change in the coming decades, a change that we can positively influence by reducing greenhouse gas emissions”.
Even with the new study, scientists fear that the Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers may already be at the “point of no return”. Anders Levermann, a climatologist at Potsdam Institute in Germany said, “I think we have to live and do our coastal planning under the assumption that the West Antarctic ice cap is unstable and we’re going to experience 12-foot sea level rise”.
Levermann welcomed the study and noted that even though the period studied is “an eye blink in glacial terms”, the data collected from multiple sources is still essential.