Antarctica, the coldest, driest continent on Earth.
“It’s probably the closest thing to be on another planet on this planet. And its nature is at its extreme.”
Few on this planet have been to Antarctica to experience the extremes but those who do are noticing some profound changes.
“These ice shelves are disintegrating we think because they receive an excess amount of melting during the summer. On over to the Antarctic penisula where the ice shelves are disintegrating”
Nasa glaciologist Bob Bindschadler has taken measurements of the ice and has gathered compelling data using remote sensing radar and satalite information.
“so what we see in the pane island glacier and the Thwaites Glaciers areas are signatures very similar to what we expect the collapse to look like.”
Over the past 20 thousand years the west antarctic ice sheet has lost two thirds of its mass. It’s part of Earth’s natural cyle.
“that’s not to say that everything that’s going on there is independent of human activity and if you attribute human activity to some of those recent climatic warming, warming of the oceans, certainly that is going to be nibbling away at the edges of Antarctica. You can’t put heat next to ice …. and not have it respond. Less polar ice can have spiralling İmplications. Ice acts as a solar reflector. The less reflection, the warmer the sea temperatures, which in turn can lead to the melting of even more ice. Surface temperatures have risen İn the Antarctica penisula more than any place on Earth, almost 5 degrees fahraneit in just 50 years.
Some scientist are worried about a total collapse of the west Antarctic ice shelf that could drastically raise sea levels around the world.
“If the rate increases, which would be the worst case scenerio I would say, our port cities would all be affected, our beaches would all be affected it would be a global event that would demand our attention.