Mike Parker, Chairman of SeSaME, writes…
THERE has been a saying ‘beware of geeks bearing spine chilling news.’ Project fear much touted by deniers of messages from thermometer savvy scientists that our globe is getter warmer. False mockery, the extra ice it’s melting really matters.
In July 2015 a 20-mile-long rift eventually broke through the surface and cleaved off a 225-square-ile iceberg. A study was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, and revealed further evidence that large parts of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could collapse in the coming decades as human-caused climate change and other forces weaken glaciers.
Such an event would trigger catastrophic sea level rise and coastal flooding around the world. Ian Howat, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of Earth Sciences at Ohio State, said “It’s generally accepted that it’s no longer a question of whether the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will melt, it’s a question of when.”
The Pine Island Glacier, part of the ice shelf that bounds the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is one of two glaciers researchers believe are most likely to undergo rapid retreat, bringing more ice from the interior of the ice sheet to the ocean, where its melting would flood coastlines around the world.
Apparently iceberg “Calving” from ice sheets is a regular phenomenon, but any new iceberg’s increased surface means it accelerates melting in warmer water, with raised ocean level and flooding.
It’s not just glaciers breaking up and into the sea with the potential for irreversible long term mayhem. In early February 2021 dozens of people went missing, feared dead, after a piece of a Himalayan glacier fell into a river triggering a huge flood in northern India. The resulting floodwaters burst open a dam creating a deluge of water down a valley in the state of Uttarakhand.
The exact reason for the glacial breakaway has not yet been established but the logic of a warmer climate leading to an increase in iceberg melting is self evident. So let’s put those denials of geek temperature taking right. It’s spine warming news the geeks are bringing us. Take heed.