The rapidly melting Antarctic ice can harm the environment in several ways. First, it can lead to rising sea levels, which can cause flooding and erosion of coastlines, loss of habitats for coastal species, and an increase in the frequency and severity of storms. Second, the influx of fresh water from melting ice can disrupt ocean currents, which play a crucial role in regulating the Earth’s climate.
This disruption can have far-reaching effects, including changes in weather patterns and impacts on marine ecosystems. Let’s not also forget that melting ice can release trapped greenhouse gases, which can contribute to further warming of the planet and exacerbate climate change.
Rapid ice melting could be even more dangerous than we thought
According to Reuters and as Yahoo News reveals, new research has found that rapidly melting Antarctic ice can lead to the dramatic slowing down of the world’s ocean flows, which can have disastrous consequences for the marine food chain, ice shelves stability, and global climate.
The deep ocean water flows from Antarctica could decrease by up to 40% by 2050, as the freshwater from melting ice reduces the salinity and density of the surface water, diminishing the downward flow of water towards the sea’s bottom. This study, published in the journal Nature, highlights the need to consider the impact of melting ice in both the Arctic and Antarctic on ocean currents and global climate.
Rintoul from CSIRO explained as Yahoo News quotes:
If we slow the sinking near Antarctica, we slow down the whole circulation and so we also reduce the amount of nutrients that get returned from the deep ocean back up to the surface.
Antarctic ice sheets are melting at an accelerating rate, with the continent losing about 2,720 billion metric tons of ice from 1992 to 2017, according to another study by an international team of ice experts. The rate of ice loss has increased threefold over that time period, and if it continues to accelerate, Antarctica’s melting ice could cause sea levels to rise several feet over the course of this century.