By Kevin Lewis
In light of ice sheets on the Antarctic peninsula melting at a worrying rate, the never ending cycle that is the topic of global warming once again makes its way to the forefront.
According to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey and the British Antarctic survey, the ice shelves in the southern part of the Antarctic peninsula appear to be disappearing as a result of climate change. According to the report, the resulting rise in sea level could severely impact the densely populated coastal regions on Earth.
“Large chunks of the ice shelves in Antarctica are breaking off and the number of icebergs are decreasing. Sub-polar areas that used to only sustain small plants are now supporting trees. This is all more evidence of global warming,” said Peter Minorsky, a Biology professor at Mercy College.
If the entire Antarctic ice sheet melts, the potential sea level rise is estimated to be 213-240 feet. The changes that have occurred are considered as among the clearest examples of global warming ever seen on the planet, he says.
“These changes haven’t really changed much. In the long term, Earth may reach a tipping point when the icecaps melt, less light will be reflected back into space, and the Earth will
become even hotter,” said Minorsky. “We might then start to become a parched and
eventually dead planet.”
Since 1998, the ice that was lost from just one of the ice shelves totals more than 1,500 miles. To put that in perspective, that area would be larger than the state of Rhode Island. These discoveries along with the entire principle off global warming have potential long term ramifications.
“In the short term, there will be winners and losers. Countries like Canada and Russia will profit mightily from ship traffic through the Arctic Circle. Yet some island nations will probably disappear. Similarly, some plant and animal species will do better and some worse,” said Minorsky.
Ultimately the patterns taking place probably will also have an adverse effect on the weather nationwide
“With the way things are going, weather patterns are expected to change and become more violent, probably leading to more “tropical” weather such as hurricanes and tornadoes among other things,” said Minorsky.
In the long term, these changes can affect the well being of the Earth. This has been speculated for years, by many scientists and others with a science background.
“Some scientists estimate that this could happen in a hundred years if things don’t change. Of course, one can always ignore the expert advice given by Nobel laureates and the various National Academy of Sciences throughout the world,” said Minorsky. “Instead they can listen to Steve Doocy and the other experts on Fox and Friends (who deny global warming.) Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh will be long dead in a hundred years.”