The temperature of our oceans is on the rise as we already reported, and this could end up badly for humanity.
More than 100,000 years ago, the Antarctic ice sheets melted and caused an extreme sea-level rise. Now, a terrifying piece of news surfaced when a new international study led by UNSW Sydney shows that we’re headed in that direction again.
The mass melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has been a significant cause of high sea levels during a time known as the Last Interglacial – this was about 192k -116k years ago, according to the experts led by the UNSW’s Chris Turney.
This research was just published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
It seems that this extreme ice loss caused a multi-meter rise in global sea levels – and it took less than 2°C of ocean warming for such a disaster to take place.
“Not only did we lose a lot of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, but this happened very early during the Last Interglacial,” according to Chris Turney, Professor in Earth and Climate Science at UNSW Sydney. He’s also the lead author of the study.
It’s been also revealed that layers of ancient volcanic ash in the ice had helped the team pinpoint when the mass melting happened, and the results showed the fact that most of the ice loss had happened within the very first millennia.
The massive melting was caused by less than 2°C ocean warming
This also showed just how sensitive the Antarctic is to higher temperatures.
“The melting was likely caused by less than 2°C ocean warming – and that’s something that has major implications for the future, given the ocean temperature increase and West Antarctic melting that’s happening today,” said Professor Turney.
All this data is precious for warning us about future ocean warming. To learn more details, we suggest that you head over to Eurekalert’s original article.
We also recommend you to check out the story on the Doomsday Glacier as well.