Saturday, December 03, 2016 | Updated at 6:26 AM ET


Antartic ice shelf may recede within 100 years, research explains

First Posted: Nov 30, 2016 04:59 AM EST
Antartic Ice Shelf May Recede Within 100 Years, Research Explains

Antartic Ice Shelf May Recede Within 100 Years, Research Explains(Photo : Gallo Images)

A major glacier in West Antartica is weakening from the inside out, a research said.

The Pine Iceand Glacier, part of the shelf that bounds the West Antartic Ice Sheet, is one of two glaciers that is believed to undergo rapid meltdown. This will involve more ice from the inside part of the sheet to the ocean. This collapse will submerge the world's coastlines.

The iceberg split from the glacier in 2015, however,it wasn't until Ohio State University researchers  conducted several software to process images that they spotted unusual things in satellite images taken before the event took place.

According to Ian Howat, associate professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University, it is not about whether the West Antartic shelf will recede, it is a matter of when. He added this rifting behavior illustrates how these glaciers will experience a rapid meltdown.

The fact the Pine Island Glacier split from the inside out sends a strong warning that the ice sheet continuesto melt, Howat said as reported in

Howat explained that  the first strong evidence is seen in the satellite images that these large Antarctic ice shelves reacted quickly to changes at the ocean edge, which is similar to what happened in Greenland.

According to some studies,  the West Antarctic Ice Sheet tends to be unstable, and may fall within 100 years. The collapse will trigger to an increase in sea level to nearly 10 feet, which  can flood big U.S. cities such as New York and Miami and force 150 million people living on coasts worldwide to leave their habitats.

Meanwhile a separate research published in "Nature" last week suggests that the melting of the Pine Island Glacier began in the 1940s due to the result of El Nino activity. Scientists got sediment cores from beneath the glacier to show that a rift was found even before the 1940s. 

With the probability of the meltdown of the West Antartic ice sheet, we may see the irony in the future: the collapse of the West Antartica.




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