The melting of the Antarctic ice sheet could raise sea levels by 20% by the end of the century. According to a new study, the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet; could cause global sea levels to rise by 20% by the end of the century. The researchers devised new equations based on their observations of the ice sheets, which they dubbed a “water expulsion process.”

Antarctic Ice Sheet

The process occurs as the ice sheet’s strong foundation starts to migrate upwards. Reducing the overall weight of the ice sheet, according to the researchers. In certain cases, they say that the solid foundation, or “bedrock,” remains below sea level. When it raises itself, though, it pushes water from the surrounding region into the ocean, leading to global sea-level rise.

“Jerry X. Mitrovica, the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and a senior author on the paper; said, “Every published projection of sea-level rise due to melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet; that has been based on climate modelling. Whether the projection extends to the end of this century or longer into the future; is going to have to be revised upward because of the work”.

Within 1,000 years, the sea level have risen by 30%

According to the report, if the ice sheet completely melts; the global sea level will rise by an additional metre in 1,000 years. According to Evelyn Powell, a GSAS Ph.D. in earth and planetary science; the most commonly cited estimate of the global mean sea level rise. That would occur if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsed is 3.2 metres. She went on to say that the team expects the water expulsion process; to add an extra meter, or 30%, to the total.

During the study, the researchers discovered more water evaporation from the West Antarctic ice sheet than they had expected. They looked at how the expulsion process influenced sea-level shift; when low viscosity content from the Earth’s mantle underneath West Antarctica was taken into account. According to Linda Pan, a co-author of the report, the extra one metre of global sea-level rise occurred; regardless of which scenario the team used for the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

The researchers now hope that their calculations will convince other scientists; that they need to account for both the water expulsion effect and the low viscosity of the mantle beneath Antarctica. Sea-level increase, according to Pan, does not end when the ice melts. She went on to say, “The harm we’re doing to our coastlines will last for centuries.”

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