A new study claims that the big Antarctic ice melt scenarios just aren't plausible.
Have doomsday predictions on the sea level rise caused by melting in Antarctica been way off?
A new study indicates that while Antarctica will contribute to sea level rises due to global warming in this upcoming century, the nightmare scenarios that many have been predicting just don’t seem at all likely to happen, according to a BBC report.
Using computer models, a research team led by Catherine Ritz, who hails from the Université Grenoble Alpes, France, and Tamsin Edwards, from the Open University, UK, published a paper in the journal Nature that looks at how the polar south would respond if greenhouse gases rise at their current rates.
They found that the most likely outcome is a rice of 10 centimeters by 2100, far from the more devastating impact of a rise of 30 centimeters or more that some research has claimed. They put the odds of that happening at just one in 20.
Their computer models take into account the shape of the bedrock of the continent and how the ice moves on it. Satellites have spotted some thinning and retreat of glaciers on the western half of the continent, which are said to be in an “irreversible” decline.
They ran 3,000 simulations using their model and then compare them to what’s actually happening in the Amundsen Sea, throwing out versions that appear to be moving too quickly or too slowly. It was through this method they came to the conclusion that a 10 centimeter rise was most likely, which actually agrees with predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2013. However, it disagrees with IPCC on the likelihood of a catastrophic rise of up to a meter, something the team found to be not plausible.
“The bed of Antarctica is so important for what the ice sheet is doing, and there are parts of it that are just too bumpy and rough or are not sloping in a way that will allow for anything to happen too quickly,” Edwards said according to the BBC report. “That’s not to say that if things kept going for a few hundred or a thousand years you couldn’t get that kind of dramatic collapse – but we don’t think on the timeframe of a couple of hundred years that the ice can respond that fast.”