What if Antarctica's ice melted? Consequences and disasters await the world

2023-10-06 2023-10-06T08:56:40Z
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ArabiaWeather - The effects of climate change have become clear and more dangerous than before, and scientists believe that the melting of ice in Antarctica is no longer a distant possibility, but rather a matter of time that is certain to happen and threatens life on Earth.

Antarctica's ice is at risk of melting

The ice sheet in Antarctica covers an area estimated at about 14 million square meters - about 36.3 million square kilometers - which is equivalent to the area of the United States and Mexico, or more than 3 times the area of the continent of Europe. The actual volume of Antarctica's ice is about 30 million cubic kilometers; That is approximately 7.2 million cubic miles.

Scientists expect this ice to completely melt by 2060, and to stop this melting, serious measures must be taken to reduce global carbon emissions, which will cause catastrophic global disasters if they do not decrease.

9 serious consequences await the world if Antarctica's ice melts

  • Gravity change

The melting of ice in Antarctica will cause sea levels to rise, and this process is more complex than simply adding this huge amount of melted water to the oceans. This in turn leads to a difference in gravity and the expansion and elevation of some areas of the Earth, and this would mitigate the impact of rising sea levels. The surface of the sea.

In 1875, researcher James Croll argued that melting ice in Antarctica would cause sea levels near Antarctica to rise unevenly at a rate much lower than the global average, now known as the “gravitational effect.” At the same time, half Northern Hemisphere sea level rises by up to a third above average.

  • The Earth's axis has changed seriously

The Earth's axis does not move smoothly, but rather suffers from slight oscillations due to the distribution of mass on the face of the planet. During the period from 1899 to 2018, the Earth's axis witnessed a shift of about 10.4 meters as a result of multiple influences, due to environmental factors and human activities.

The melting of ice in Antarctica could contribute to changing the movement of the Earth's axis. However, other factors also play an important role, such as the effect of the Earth's mantle motion. It is worth noting that it is not necessary for all the ice in Antarctica to melt for serious effects to appear on the Earth's axis.

  • Length of the day

Researchers indicate that the melting of ice in Antarctica will affect the length of the day, and may lead to slight but noticeable changes in the Earth's rotation, as a result of the melting of glaciers and the discharge of meltwater into the oceans. This process has been going on for several decades and the length of the day has already increased by a thousandth of a second.

  • The disappearance of many major cities in the world

According to a report from National Geographic, coastal cities like New York, New Orleans, Buenos Aires, London, Venice, Shanghai and Bangladesh are expected to be completely submerged. In addition, other large areas of land will be significantly affected. This will have a catastrophic impact on the populations and environments that depend on these areas.

  • Affected animal life

Antarctica is home to diverse species of animals, including seabirds, penguins, seals, whales and other marine creatures. These creatures are found in this area throughout the year. However, climate change poses a major threat to many of these species.

For example, we have already seen a decline in the number of emperor penguins as a result of the melting ice, and this decline is expected to increase if climate conditions continue to deteriorate.

  • Exacerbating fresh water problems in the world

As sea levels rise, salty water can seep into groundwater and this spread will contaminate drinking water sources. One of humanity's biggest concerns is losing access to clean drinking water.

  • Release of frozen microbes

Melting ice in Antarctica will reveal organisms that have been frozen under the ice for millions of years, posing the threat of unprecedented epidemics of diseases we know nothing about.

Research shows that microbes are able to survive in environments characterized by high salt concentrations, extreme acidity and alkalinity, in addition to withstanding temperatures of up to 93.3 degrees Celsius. One of these microbes withstands radiation up to 5,000 times stronger than any other organism on Earth.

  • Ocean currents change their course

Antarctica has a vital role in regulating ocean currents, temperatures, and salinity levels in the Southern Oceans. Melting sea ice could fundamentally change that marine environment permanently. If the Antarctic ice sheet were to merge, it would have significant negative effects.

  • A new ice age

Melting ice can cause changes that eventually lead to a new ice age. This phenomenon occurred millions of years ago when icebergs broke off from the Antarctic ice sheet and drifted into nearby oceans before melting.

As a result of the influx of fresh water from melting icebergs, the global balance of salt and fresh water has been affected.

The ocean absorbs carbon dioxide and contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing global warming. However, this process can also lead to cooling. The researchers' study analyzing ocean floor sediment cores 500 miles (804.7 kilometers) off the coast of southern Africa showed that during each glacial period, there were signs of thawing Antarctic ice that contributed significantly to the cooling.


Sources:

This article was written originally in Arabic and is translated using a 3rd party automated service. ArabiaWeather is not responsible for any grammatical errors whatsoever.
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