The discovery of a fast-melting glacier in Antarctica is a sign that climate change is happening, and it’s going to happen sooner than we think. The glaciers are melting faster because the air temperature around them has been warming up. In recent years, these glaciers have been shrinking at an alarming rate, making them seem like they’re disappearing before our eyes. This phenomenon can be seen as a warning for what will happen if humans continue to burn fossil fuels without stopping soon enough.
The West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be the most remote place on Earth, but with its melting glaciers it’s now one of the most closely observed.
It is located in a region so cold and hostile to life that no human can venture there and survive for long. But with the help of satellites we’ve been able to learn more about this alien landscape, its history and future.
The ice sheet lies atop of a deep sub-glacial basin that is almost entirely hidden from our eyes. It’s also extremely dangerous given the 13,000ft tall waves of ice threatening to break at any time. This region is increasingly being referred to as one of the most destabilised regions on the planet.
Rising temperatures since the 1970s have made it possible to probe this remote and forbidding place with greater ease than ever before. NASA started Operation IceBridge in 2009, a mission that uses aircraft loaded with scientific instruments to help us understand our rapidly melting world. Before we can better protect these regions we must first know more about them, and even then it might be too late.
The Earth’s temperature is rising, the ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising at their fastest rate in 2,000 years. All signs point to us not doing enough to save our planet from itself before irreversible damage has already been done. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet alone contains enough water to raise sea levels worldwide by 13 ft.
The Earth is warming to its second hottest year on record, and if we do not act now it will soon be just as warm as the first. Time is running out for us to stop global warming before sea levels rise further than they already have. We must act now or perish later.
When this glacier will eventually collapse, it will raise the sea level by half a metre. The Earth’s temperature is rising, but we can still do something about it before it’s too late. We must act now to save our future from ourselves.