"The dramatic vanishing of polar ice sheets will cause catastrophic sea level rise that will threaten cities, according to a major new study".
"The climate crisis has pushed the planet’s stores of ice to a widespread collapse that was “unthinkable just a decade ago”, with Arctic sea ice certain to vanish in summers and ruinous sea level rise from melting glaciers now already in motion, a major new report has warned.
Even if planet-heating emissions are radically cut, the world’s vast ice sheets at the poles will continue to melt away for hundreds of years, causing up to three metres of sea level rise that will imperil coastal cities, the report states. The “terminal” loss of sea ice from the Arctic during summers could arrive within a decade and now cannot be avoided, it adds.
“There’s nothing we can do about that now. We’ve just screwed up and let the system warm too much already,” said Julie Brigham-Grette, a scientist at University of Massachusetts Amherst and report co-author, about the sea ice.
“That milestone has now passed so the next thing we need to avoid is ice shelf collapses in Antarctica and the further breakdown of the ice systems in Greenland. We can’t stuff the genie back into the bottle once they are gone.”
Disappearance of sea ice will open up the dark Arctic ocean, which will absorb – rather than reflect – heat, causing global heating to escalate further. It will also upend the region’s ecosystem, harming everything from algae to large animals such as seals and polar bears that need the sea ice for hunting."
Oliver Milman reports for the Guardian November 7, 2022.