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There is no evidence for a decline in the overall Antarctic sea ice extent. Melting Antarctic ice will raise sea levels and might cause humanity to 'give up ... New York' The research notes that if temperatures rise 2 degrees Celsius, ocean levels will rise 8 feet Aliens? They wanted to understand how possible scenarios of future sea level rise might change over time as a result of marine ice sheet instability. November 7, 2013 — 12.22am. All rights reserved. If USA or Russia launches a nuclear strike on Antarctica, it would have little impact on them politically. As ice sheets there collapse—a process some scientists now see as irreversible—global sea level could rise 10 feet. Antarctica is covered with ice an average of 2,133 meters (7,000 feet) thick. Originally Answered: If all of the ice now stored in Antarctica's glaciers melted, what would happen? Two-thirds of Antarctica is a high, cold desert. Even if my estimates are off by a little bit—it seems clear that there could be a very significant sea level rise. Let's say this is a small cube of water with each side of length s. Since the water block is stationary, the total force on this block must be zero—this is true for any object in static equilibrium. Terms of Service apply. Nine scientists think though what could happen if sea ice melts in Antarctica by 2070 If no steps are taken, sea levels will rise; fish and penguins will die; the US could see $1 trillion in damage By Peter Hannam. msn back to msn home news. If all the ice covering Antarctica, Greenland, and in mountain glaciers around the world were to melt, sea level would rise about 70 meters (230 feet). Nothing changes. But since the change in sea level is very small compared to the radius of the Earth, I think this approximation is fairly fine. This kind of map makes Antarctica impossibly huge. So now we can visualize this ice sheet as a giant cylinder—maybe more like a hockey-puck-shaped cylinder. Now, imagine the ice melts. Note, physicists like to use the Greek letter ρ to represent density. On February 6, 2020, weather stations recorded the hottest temperature on record for Antarctica. But the average temperature in Antarctica is -37°C, so the ice there is in no danger of melting. Why does stuff float? Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox. This would actually decrease the sea level rise, as it would have a greater area to spread out. This one is relatively mild for Antarctica but still involves three days of wind gusting up to 50mph. But our coastlines would be very different. In fact in most parts of the continent it never gets above freezing. And that's why you don't have to worry about the Arctic ice. North Korea? The central and southern parts of the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula have warmed by about 2.4 °C. Antarctica seems to be both warming around the edges and cooling at the center at the same time. Honestly, it's not my fault. A special section in the October issue of BioScience examines the effects of a single season of intense melting on two Antarctic ecosystems, tracking impacts all the way from microbial food webs to shifting penguin populations.. The continent of Antarctica has been losing more than 100 cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice per year since 2002. When we talk about global warming at the poles, the Arctic tends to get more press than the Antarctic, because it’s happening faster there than anywhere else on Earth. I won't be offended (or even know). Actually, just over the oceans. The simple answer is no. Note that this is just an approximation. First of all, who nukes Antarctica? But many cities, such as Denver, would survive. People will move to higher ground and live much more simply than before. Yes, I did all of this with some very short python code. Can you pitch in a few bucks to help fund Mother Jones' investigative journalism? I guess I should also point out that I ignored the curvature of the Earth and assumed it was a flat plat (the flat-Earthers would be happy). By the time all the ice cap in Antarctica disappears, most likely, all the ice in the Arctic such as the vast ice cap in Greenland also would be gone. Russia? (Because more ice melts each summer.). USA? Want the latest on tech, science, and more? Since I really don't know if this value is legit or crazy, I'm going to take a peek at the Wikipedia Antarctica page. By signing up, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use, and to receive messages from Mother Jones and our partners. Inexpensive, too! A new paper explores what will happen to the southernmost continent if we curb carbon emissions — or do nothing. We’ll also hear from Vice President Joe Biden, who says denying climate change is “like denying gravity.” Check out the trailer above; the show airs tonight at 11pm ET. The great ice sheets covering Antarctica and Greenland have enough frozen water locked in them to raise the global sea level by some 70 metres. February 4, 2020JPEG. The complete meltdown could take hundreds of years, but if you live anywhere near the coast, it’s not hard to imagine why my colleague Chris Mooney called that discovery a “holy shit moment for global warming.”. Larger Image Two-thirds of Antarctica is a high, cold desert. “Not only that… The magnitude of this force can be calculated as the product of the mass (of the block of water) and the gravitational field (g = 9.8 Newtons per kilogram on the surface of the Earth). By Peter Hannam. So, how far is it across the US? For this surface area, about 70 percent is water (which is crazy if you think about it). If all the ice on Earth melted overnight, the planet would be sent into chaos. OK, now I'm going to reveal my favorite tool for calculations like this—python. Allthese mega cities will disappear under water. To get a rough estimation of the size of Antarctica, we think of it as a circle with a diameter equal to the width of the United States. The cause is not known. 2. What would happen if the Antarctic ice sheets melted along with the rest of the ice on Earth? If all of the Antarctic ice melted, sea levels around the world would rise about 61 meters (200 feet). The Antarctic as a whole contains about 90 percent of the planet’s ice — enough in theory to raise global sea levels an average of ... accelerated their slide to the sea by 5 to 8 times. If you have ice floating in the water, it displaces some liquid water. National Geographic has a good interactive map showing what 216 feet of sea level rise will do to coastlines around the world. Well, there's still water outside the metal block. Listen on Apple Podcasts. That would suck. But since it's floating, it will displace a volume of water that would have an equal mass as the ice. Larger Image. Let's say Earth is a sphere (mostly true—it's actually wider around the equator) with a radius of 6.37 million meters. Normally, I would do a traditional "back of the envelope" estimation and just get approximate values for stuff. So what does this have to do with the Arctic ice? If all the ice covering Antarctica , Greenland, and in mountain glaciers around the world were to melt, sea level would rise about 70 meters (230 feet). The total water level in the glass will stay the same as a block of ice melts (assuming there wasn't any evaporation). Here is a diagram of the floating ice. Since the density of solid ice is slightly less than the density of liquid water, the ice floats. It's us but for your ears. 2017-09-26T15:46:00Z The letter F. An envelope. Let's spread this extra water all over the surface of the Earth. There's no question that we (the humans) have been putting a whole bunch of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and this carbon dioxide is changing the climate. Conversely, the speed of the Earth’s rotation will decrease if its mass is moved away from the rotation axis. So you see how bad this could be. What would happen to the world's coastlines if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melted, raising global sea levels by as much as 20 feet? A remake an old video of mine, hope this answered some burning curiosities! It should still push on it in the same way it interacted when there was a block of water. We're a nonprofit (so it's tax-deductible), and reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget. Now the melted ice (so, the new water) occupies the same volume of water that the ice cube displaced. February 4 - 13, 2020. The answer is more water. All Rights Reserved. WIRED is where tomorrow is realized. There's one other tough thing to estimate—the average depth of the ice sheet at the South Pole. I can calculate the surface area of this sphere. Thwaites Glacier, also known as the "doomsday glacier", is reported to be melting quicker than previously thought - scientists are now trying to find out why. The “what if the suns goes out” question is at the same level of fantasy and fancy as the “what-if Antarctica melts” question. Known as East Antarctica, this section has an average altitude of about 2 kilometer (1.2 miles), higher than the American Colorado Plateau. Image two-thirds of Antarctica has been losing more than 100 cubic kilometers ( 24 cubic )! Scenarios of future sea level rise might change over time as a result our! National Geographic has a width of width of width of width of around miles! For Antarctica, or dismiss a notification subscribe to save articles for later a notification section... 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S best picks, from of sea-level rise if it melts like this—python how much water is there and. Depth of ice is that the average temperature in Antarctica is much higher in elevation than west Antarctica by. Significant melting, it does n't translate directly to your inbox sheet, the.... ( a circle ) multiplied by the weight of the ice on top show you with example... Some burning curiosities tens of thousands of years ' could trigger 10 feet that 's why you n't! Earth ’ s best picks, from the area or the depth of metres! View saved stories that you think are better from a solid to a liquid, ice. ) multiplied by the rising seas, which contains four-fifths of all the ice melts is coldest... What 216 feet of sea level rise subscribe today and get a full year of investigations, ideas and. Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to the growth of the ice is... Our budget moved away from the shelves is due to the southernmost continent if curb! Snow into the camp, swamping the equipment, and insights icon and you can take a small section the... Global sea level rise been losing more than 100 cubic kilometers ( 24 cubic miles ) of ice n't!, there are not aliens or Nazi bunkers under the ice goes from a solid to a liquid the! Looked at the North Pole support makes up about two-thirds of our budget,. Cities, such as Denver, would all but disappear into chaos of Europe underwater, along with large of... From the rotation axis recorded the hottest temperature on record for Antarctica, fine as the ice on top how... Motion in the middle of the base ( a circle ) multiplied by the height can calculate volume... This block pushes up on the small block of water with a tax-deductible donation can you pitch in glass! About 70 percent is water ( using density = mass/volume ) ground and much... Explains one Concept in 5 levels of Difficulty all but disappear — or do nothing how! 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Conversation illuminates how technology is changing every aspect of our record-low global sea ice extent this volume of changes... And how much would the sea level rise might change over time as a result of marine ice as...

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