By Larraine Roulston:
It has been revealed that during the years 1992 to 2017, the Antarctic has lost a staggering three trillion tonnes of ice. During those 25 years, Antarctic’s ice loss measured 7.6 mm; however, 3.0 mm, or 2/5ths, of the total has occurred during the past five years. These figures reported that the ice losses in the Antarctica regions have tripled, increasing sea levels globally by 3 mm. A new international climate assessment studying the mass balance of the ice sheet, funded by NASA and the European Space Agency, stated that presently these ice losses from Antarctica are causing sea levels to rise even faster.
To undertake the assessment, a team headed by University of Leeds Professor Andrew Shepherd and NASA’s Dr. Erik Ivins revealed the most complete picture of Antarctic ice sheet change to date. The researchers, consisting of 84 scientists from 44 international organizations, combined 24 satellite surveys. Dr. Ivins stated, “This is the most robust study of the ice mass balance on Antarctica to date. It covers a longer period than our 2012 Ice Sheet Mass Balance International Comparison Exercise, has a larger pool of participants, and incorporates refinements in our observing capability and an improved ability to assess uncertainties.”
Were all the ice of Antarctica to melt entirely, it would raise global sea levels by 58 meters. Ascertaining the amount of ice being lost today in order to understand the impacts of climate change and be able to gauge its pace in the futurehas become imperative.
Professor Shepherd explained, “What’s happening is that Antarctica is being melted away at its base. We can’t see it, because it’s happening below the sea surface. We have long suspected that changes in Earth’s climate will affect the polar ice sheets. Thanks to satellites our space agencies have launched, we can now track their ice losses and local sea level contribution with confidence.”
Check out this YouTube video of what would happens when the ice melts in Antartica:
As the global climate becomes more unstable, the effects are more visible in the Arctic. Professor Jim Anderson, climate change expert at Harvard University explained, “It’s the flow of heat into the subsystems of the climate that is controlling the timescale for irreversibility of the climate that is so profoundly worrisome. In the last 35 years, we’ve lost 75 to 80 per cent of the permanent flowing ice in the Arctic. We need to stop all fossil fuel emissions if we want to prevent irreversible climate change.”
The expense and stress of fighting wildfires and repairing extreme storm damage also have economic and social consequences. Citizens around the world must wonder why the mainstream media is not covering research and highlighting solutions regarding climate change. Rather, political posturing, economic debates and scandalous gossip always trump what is of vital importance to our very survival.
It’s time we all fought for a 24-hour Environmental TV Channel such as the popular Weather or News Channels. Here in Canada, the conservative government was defeated, primarily due to Prime Minister Harper’s muzzling of environmental scientific research. After an election promising climate change action, our new Prime Minister Trudeau approved a pipeline rather than focusing on renewable energy. Do we not all put trust in our individual governments to protect our coastal shores and communities as well as help turn the tide on runaway climate change?