Climate: Too hot, even in Antarctica

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Two publications have just been released, especially concerning Antarctica. Sea ice in July is smaller than ever, and ice caps may not survive a 2°C global rise.

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Antarctica is a glacial continent, a so-called ice cap, and also a floating ice floe (large ice block of sea water) that melts in the summer and is replenished when the cold returns. Sometimes we confuse the two. There, in the middle of winter in the southern hemisphere, the coldest time of the year, satellite data from Copernicus, the European Union’s program on climate change, show ice floes to be smaller than before. In any case, for 44 years the measure existed.

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Only 15.3 million km2 have been reshaped. This is 7% smaller than the average size. Unfortunately, this confirms his observations from February (late summer in the Southern Hemisphere), in which Antarctica so far appears to be more resilient to climate change than the Arctic. rice field. Will sea level rise when sea ice melts? No ! The ice cubes were already soaked in water so they keep the same amount and don’t level up.

But we learn in review publications NatureThis time, even Antarctica is at risk of disappearing if global temperatures rise by 2°C and overall ocean levels rise by several meters. This time it is all the snow that has fallen from the sky that falls into the water. It could be equivalent to 52 meters of sea level. “Don’t wake up the sleeping giant”British, Australian and French researchers explained:

In fact, the two phenomena complement each other.

Drift ice usually plays a protective role. It encloses continents, protects them from storms and waves, and prevents icebergs from breaking off. By the way, where the white areas have reflected the sun’s energy, the dark ocean absorbs more of it, making the warming even worse as it melts. states that by observing the recent warm period and intersecting it with different scenarios of icecap glacier greenhouse gas emissions and temperatures through 2100, 2300 and 2500, they state: I’m here. The East is very sensitive to even slight warming.

Still a faint hope: “The fate of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is largely in our hands.” says the main author. If global sea level rise is kept below 2°C, he will not exceed 50 cm by 2500. The Paris Agreement target is +1.5, but we are currently on a 2 cm or 3 cm trajectory.

In any case, this confirms that we are having an unusually hot year. According to the World Meteorological Organization, July is one of the three hottest months in the world on record. The Grenoble Institute of Environmental Geosciences already knows that the 2022 assessment of glaciers will be catastrophic. “Don’t jump to conclusions”But glaciologist Olivier Gagliardini warns that although the climate is clearly warming, next summer could be significantly colder.

Source: Francetvinfo

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