The Denman Glacier in East Antarctica has almost lost 3 miles worth of ice in the last 22 years. However, conditions are starting to worsen for this part of Antarctica, and that can prove disastrous for coastal regions around the world.
Researchers have calculated that if this entire glacier were to melt, the sea levels would rise by 5 feet. This would dramatically change the landscape of the entire world.
And thanks to new research, instability in the glacier has been detected. If the ice sheets were to break, the melting would be accelerated even faster.
Not a Matter of If, but When
One thing is very clear, with the current climate conditions in mind, the glacier will melt and the sea levels will rise. The key at this moment is determining when it will come to a head.
This is something that is very difficult to determine according to researchers. As the planet heats up, the melting will become stronger, which means the glacier as a whole will be more unstable.
And just to be clear, this is not a unique situation. Antarctica as a whole is melting. What makes this case so surprising is that the East Antarctic is melting slower overall.
It’s Not Just the Antarctic
Many people will underplay how impactful a 5-foot increase in the sea level really is, but this is not an accurate representation.
In reality, other glaciers around the world are melting, and they are the cause of rising sea levels. It will not just be 5 feet. the contribution from other large scale melting events will make this far greater.
For example, last year in Greenland, 11 billion tons of ice melted in a single day. This ended up raising sea levels by 0.5mm (or just under .2 inches) in just 24 hours.
Which may not sound like a lot. But if you were to put it into perspective, that would be nearly half a foot inside of a month. That is if the ice melted every day at the same rate.
By the time Antarctica melts, the world will be a very different place with coastal cities partially submerged.