Its common knowledge that climate change has been causing major issues in the poles with the Antarctic and the North Pole both suffering greatly. It’s normal at this point of most people to know that the poles have been melting due to the damage to the climate and that the damage has hurt the ecosystems of the poles. Now there is even worse news on the horizon.
Recently, there have been increased studies into the rate of ice melting in the Antarctic, and the results are in. In the past five years, the speed of it has now tripled meaning that in that short time the Antarctic has been speeding up its melting process. It is a massive issue because the heat isn’t the only problem, now it’s more and more exposed to the waves of the ocean.
The Antarctic is normally protected from erosion. Usually, there is sea ice that protects the shelf from being too damaged by incoming waves. It meant that even though it had been melting it had been defended against other elements up until now. The melting has taken away it’s defences against the ocean making it even more vulnerable to erosion
West Antarctica alone contributed to the shedding of 160 billion tonnes of ice each year since 2012 which is a considerable increase. It is the area most affected by the lack of ice shelves which protect the main sheet of ice that is most commonly spoken about. This, however, does come with somewhat of a silver lining, so things aren’t entirely bleak.
If countries agree to reduce their emissions to what was decided at the Paris Climate Agreement then it could reduce the damage to not only Antarctica but ourselves. With more ice melting it means the rise of the sea which means we lose more land over time and we will lose it faster if we don’t cut our emotions. Scientists say that if we reach our target, we reduce the risk of coastline flooding for around a decade, but it could even go as far as a whole century.
The issue is they won’t know if the emissions reductions will be enough to stop it entirely because of the lack of time that researchers have been able to study the effects. They can only study the data of the reduction now but cannot calculate if we can prevent the whole thing without longer research time. Hopefully though with the world pushing towards the target, we should be able not just to stall the damage but prevent it all together.