"Several meters under water": forecast of the consequences of the melting of the largest ice sheet of the Earth

Scientists at Durham University in England have concluded that within a few centuries, the level of the world’s oceans will rise by several meters if the average annual temperature rises by 2 ° C.

A team of specialists from the UK, France, Australia and the US has developed a computer model that predicts climate conditions in the future. The analysis showed that the melting of the ice sheet in East Antarctica will lead to an increase in sea levels by at least half a meter by 2100. By 2300, it may already be three meters, and by 2500, up to five meters.

Nevertheless, scientists emphasize that the worst-case scenario of global warming is unlikely. Ecologists believe that if the carbon footprint is radically reduced now, then by the end of the century the water level in the ocean will increase by no more than two centimeters. This is a very optimistic forecast compared to the expected ice sheet losses in East Antarctica and Greenland.

The fate of the ice sheet in Antarctica is in our hands. This is the largest glacier on the planet, equivalent to 52 meters of sea level. If humanity manages to keep the increase in the average annual temperature below 2°C, as originally prescribed by the Paris Agreement , then we have the opportunity to prevent a sharp rise in the level of the world’s seas.

Chris Stokes

Durham University Fellow and Research Director

Scientists have also found evidence that three million years ago, the ice sheet of East Antarctica broke up, contributing to a rise in sea level by several meters. The average temperature on Earth at that time was 3-4°C higher than today. And 400,000 years ago, part of the ice sheet retreated 700 kilometers deep into the mainland as a result of global warming by 1-2 ° C.

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