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Climate Danger

Atualizado: 26 de out. de 2022

Friday’s news about an ice shelf the size of New York City that collapsed in East Antarctica has left scientists very concerned. The area is long thought to have been stable and not hit much by climate change, but now it has become apparent that it isn’t the case.

This satellite image provided by NASA shows Aqua MODIS 16 in March 2022. It shows C-38 in one piece chasing the main piece of C-37 moving west on the coastal current. The collapse last week was the first-time scientists have ever seen an ice shelf collapse in this cold area of Antarctica.

The ice shelf, about 460 square miles wide (1200 square kilometers) holding in the Conger and Glenzer glaciers from the warmer water, collapsed between March 14 and 16, said ice scientist Catherine Walker of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. She said scientists have never seen this happen in this part of the continent, making it worrisome.

“The Glenzer Conger ice shelf presumably had been there for thousands of years and it’s not ever going to be there again,” said University of Minnesota ice scientist Peter Neff. The issue isn’t the amount of ice lost in this collapse. That is negligible. It's more about the where it happened.

Worries that previous assumptions about East Antarctica’s stability may not be correct. And that’s important because if the frozen water in East Antarctica melted, and that’s a millennia-long process if not longer, it would raise seas across the globe more than 160 feet (50 meters). It’s more than five times the ice in the more vulnerable West Antarctic Ice Sheet, where scientists have concentrated much of their research.

In other words, global warming is affecting the planet in such ways that if we sit back and don’t take heed then future generations may not exist. Realizing the setback is one thing, but taking action is another. Climate Summit and nations’ pledges don’t seem to be aggressive enough to change the process which is already underway with perhaps devastating consequences on the horizon.

Take Care!

Prof. Carl Boniface

Vocabulary builder:

Worrisome (adj) = troublesome, worrying, annoying, irritating, bothersome

Millennia-long = 1,000 years

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