How Antarctica could collapse in just a decade!

In recent years, more and more icebergs appear to have broken off from Antarctica. This has happened in the past. And researchers fear this is a sign that a shift is underway. In just a few years, this could lead to long-lasting ice declines and significant global sea level rise.

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[EN VIDÉO] Antarctica: giant ice sheet breaks
This video, produced from radar images obtained by the TerraSAR-X satellite, shows the evolution of the formation of one of the largest known icebergs. For weeks and months, the satellite followed its evolution, from the appearance of insects in the Larsen C ice sheet to fragmentation.

Lessons from the past can inform choices for the future. The principle is familiar to almost everyone. And today re-applied by a a team led by researchers from the University of Bonn (German). For the effect that global warming anthropogenic, they studied that caused by previous warming. Much more natural, they are. They are very interested in historyAntartika.

L’Antartika, it should be remembered, is the name given to the region located around the South Pole of our planet. It covers an area of ​​nearly 15 million square kilometers, almost entirely covered in a thick layer of ice. And the oceans bordering Antarctica are now heating up. Even faster than other oceans. Endanger the ice sheet in the region. Especially by the phenomenon of iceberg formation.

Note that loosen the iceberg, giving birth, as glaciers say, is a very natural phenomenon. But if anthropogenic global warming increases its prevalence, it’s all the ice that is placed on the continent of Antarctica that can flow directly into the water – like removing the cap from a champagne ice cream bottle – and, on average, come to raise sea levels.

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Antarctica in full swing?

So, to try to predict what awaits us on this side, the researchers studied several sediment hidden in the depths of the Antarctic Ocean, recording natural climate records and calculating the debris carried by the ice. Everyone on the side they called“Ysbergsteeg”, principal by access to lower latitudes. And they now report that after the last glacial peak, somewhere between 19,000 and 9,000 years ago, as Earth’s climate warmed, Antarctica repeatedly released significant releases. pulp iceberg in the sea.

But perhaps the most surprising thing comes from the speed at which the phenomenon can occur. Because glaciologists point out that yskap because it can be destabilized – but also recovered by period source fast in just a decade. Understand that it took a very short time, during different periods in the past, to movement durable cast iron. It spans several centuries, sometimes even a millennium. As a result, water levels are rising worldwide.

In-depth statistical analysis also allows researchers to identify tipping points for these changes. And if the evolution currently observed in Antarctica can be interpreted in the same way as previous events, they believe that the region may already be in the process of shifting. “Our results are consistent with a growing body of evidence suggesting that the accelerated loss of ice mass in Antarctica over the past few decades may be the start of a period of self-sustaining and irreversible decline. yskap and D’significant global sea level rise», concludes Michael Weber, geophysicist, in press release from the University of Bonn in Germany. Researchers still don’t know when we can revisit ice sheet stabilization. This will largely depend on the level of global warming in the future.

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