Sunday, April 19, 2015

Science Report: Antarctica's Ice Shelves Melting at Faster Pace

By Matthew Salerno

NBC News’ website in the environmental section reported on a recent study published in Science magazine about Antarctica’s floating ice shelves. The study states that in an 18 year period, from 1994 to 2012, the massive floating ice shelves in Antarctica decreased at a quickening rate; some shrank nearly 18 percent. According to the study, during the first half of the 18 years, there was not much change to the floating ice shelves’ total mass, however, in the last nine years the effects were significant.

While the study states it does not alone prove the cause of the melting, it can be assuredly assumed that rising global temperatures is the issue. Global warming from the burning of fossil fuels has increasingly been taking its toll on our environment in recent years, with no foreseeable solution at this point. If ice shelves continued to melt at its current pace, excluding the possibility that they could melt faster, entire ice shelves in Antarctica would be gone by the end of the century, barely a generation or two away.

The floating ice shelves themselves do not directly relate to sea level, but could indirectly have an impact on such. The shelves act in a way that help ice on continental Antarctica stay put; however, if they melt the continent’s ice fields will be free to flow into the ocean and disintegrate, thus raising sea levels.

I believe that this is a problem that is too often overlooked and left for the next generation to deal with. Global warming has been denied for too long, and it could already be too late, but waiting another generation would be catastrophic. Unless we make drastic changes during our lifetimes, our children and grandchildren will be left with a crumbling environment and a planet with temperatures rising out of control

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