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Monday, July 22, 2013

A study warns that sea level may rise 20 meters by the end of the century

The ice of the Antarctic "is much more sensitive" to climate changes than estimated, according to a scientific study which says that sea level could rise 20 meters to the end of the century if this area, the West Antarctic and Greenland, were to melt as in the Pliocene.

These are two of the findings of an international study published in the journal Nature Geo science, led by researchers from Imperial College London and Spanish participation.


In the Pliocene, between 5.33 million years ago and 2.58 million years ago, the Earth experienced a global temperature increase that came to be between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius higher than today and similar to that planned for the end XXI century. The concentration of atmospheric CO2, meanwhile, was equal to that of today.

Both factors led to the merger of some of the ice planet, causing a rise in sea level of 20 meters, recalled in a note the Scientific Research Council (CSIC), a signer of the investigation.

Until now, it was known that the sea rose 10 meters due to the melting of Greenland and West Antarctic but according to the article, there was no evidence that the East Antarctic ice had added another 10 meters to sea level. The ice of the Antarctic, whose surface is equivalent to that of Australia, was formed 34 million years ago and was considered at steady state for 14 million years.

However, according to this research, this area antarctica is "much more sensitive than previously thought," confirmed Francisco Jose Jimenez Espejo, now at the University of Nagoya (Japan) and earlier in the Andalusian Institute of Sciences Earth (joint CSIC and the University of Granada).

Similarity Pliocene data

According to this article, given the similarity between the variables of atmospheric CO2 and temperature of the Pliocene and the present time, the consequences if there was a continental-thaw east and west Greenland and Antarctic-could be the same at the end of this century. "Sea levels could rise 20 meters to the end of the century", are according to this work.

Carlota Escutia, the Andalusian Institute of Earth Sciences, has opined that it is "very important to understand what will be the possible consequences" in view of the similarity data.

Researchers have come to these conclusions by analyzing samples of marine mud Pliocene East Antarctic. These samples were obtained over three kilometers below the Antarctic coast in the 2010 campaign of the International Ocean Drilling, coliderada by the CSIC.

As explained by Jimenez, there are also the mud rocks that were carried by glaciers and icebergs.

The researchers, through their analysis, have recognized the place of origin of these rocks and from there were able to reconstruct the extent of glaciers over time. The Spanish team, according to Jimenez, has been commissioned to do various analyzes sedimentological, mineralogical and geochemical studies have allowed to reconstruct paleo environmental conditions during the Pliocene.


The analysis revealed that this mass was considered stable ice undergoes partial melting actually important.

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