East Antarctic Melting “Would be Irreversible If Set in Motion”
Part of East Antarctica is more vulnerable than expected to a thaw that could trigger an unstoppable slide of ice into the ocean and raise world sea levels for thousands of years, a new study showed.
The Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica, stretching more than 1,000 km inland, has enough ice to raise sea levels by 3 to 4 metres if it were to melt as an effect of global warming, the report said.
The Wilkes is vulnerable because it is held in place by a small rim of ice, resting on bedrock below sea level by the coast of the frozen continent. That “ice plug” might melt away in coming centuries if ocean waters warm up.
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