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Why is the Antarctic ice self-melting?

Rising oceans are one of the most visible effects of human-caused global warming. Since 1880, the global average sea level has risen by 20 cm. This change cannot be stopped or reversed easily. When the heat they receive from the atmosphere changes, the Earth’s oceans and ice sheets react slowly, retaining heat for decades to millennia. As a result, even if global warming stabilises below the 2°C threshold established by the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, sea level will continue to rise well into the twenty-first century.

According to both the 2019 revision of the World Population Prospects and the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report, sea level rise caused by climate change is highly likely to have a significant impact on the world’s coastlines in the coming decades. Even if the Paris climate agreement goal is met, it is predicted that by the end of the twenty-first century, 800 million people will be affected by high-tide flooding.

Even a slight rise in baseline sea level can significantly increase the frequency and magnitude of flooding during high tides, storm surges, and severe weather in many coastal environments. According to United Nations projections, the costs of this flooding alone could total $111.6 billion by 2050 and $367.2 billion by the end of the century.

Even a slight rise in baseline sea level can significantly increase the frequency and magnitude of flooding caused by high tides, storm surges, and severe weather in many coastal environments. According to UN projections, the costs of this flooding alone could total $111.6 billion by 2050 and $367.2 billion by the end of the century.

Future air warming and surface meltwater buildup, which can deepen crevasses and cause abrupt breakdown through hydrofracturing, could also make the ice shelf vulnerable. If the grounding line (the boundary between grounded and floating ice) is located on bedrock sloping down toward the ice sheet interior, the initial retreat caused by thinning ice shelves could result in a self-sustaining and potentially unstoppable process of retreat known as marine ice sheet instability (MISI).

  • Impact of Climate Changes

One of the most important challenges of our time is climate change, and its effects are increasingly being felt in Antarctica. Sea ice is dramatically decreasing, glaciers are melting, and global warming is causing sea levels to rise. The continent’s ecosystems, wildlife, and human activities will all be greatly affected by these changes.

The continent of Antarctica has experienced a variation in temperature as a result of climate change. While winds in Antarctica keep the inland areas cool, West Antarctica is warming quickly. In the West Antarctic, the water has warmed by one degree Celsius since 1955. The climate, ice mass, and life on the continent will all be affected by further rises in land and marine temperatures. Ice cores from Antarctica reveal higher-than-ever greenhouse gas concentrations today, proving that the continent’s warming is a result of human-caused climate change rather than a natural cycle.

Understanding how climate change affects Antarctica is critical to sustaining a fragile environment, as the effects will become more severe over time. Climate change is causing significant environmental changes, including rising sea levels and a decline in biodiversity. Glaciers are melting, and sea ice is melting as temperatures rise. As a result, many species’ habitats are being lost, and ocean acidification is increasing.

  • Air Pollution in the Antarctic

An increasing number of natural and man-made atmospheric contaminants are making their way to the frozen continent of Antarctica, one of the cleanest and most beautiful places on Earth. Pollutants enter the system through a variety of routes, some simple and others more complicated. The primary investigation tool for locating the pollution’s source areas is radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas. Water contains almost no radon, but it is constantly released from all soils and rocks.

For over a year, researchers from the ANST and the Korea Polar Research Organization have been collaborating to determine the source areas of contamination when venturing out to Ruler George Island on the Antarctic Peninsula.The destiny and impacts of this contamination after it shows up are also being chosen.

With funding from the Australia Korea Foundation, researchers Dr. Sangbum Hong and Dr. Scott Chambers will instal a second radon detector at the newly built Korean Antarctic station at Jang Bogo Station in the summer of 2016. These new radon data will be combined with a full suite of aerosol and trace gas monitoring tools already in use at Jang Bogo to improve our understanding of the pollution paths reaching the centre of Antarctica, which is more than 3000 kilometres from the nearest continent.

  • Greenhouse Effect over Antarctica

According to a new study, the greenhouse gases that are warming the planet cool Antarctica for much of the year. The strange tendency does not defy science, but it does demonstrate how strange the world’s southernmost continent is. Antarctica is home to many extremes. It is the world’s tallest continent, with an average elevation of just under 2300 meters. Despite the ice, it is officially a desert due to a lack of precipitation. This lack of moisture is one of the main causes of the area’s “negative greenhouse effect,” according to Sergio Sejas, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, who oversaw a recently published analysis into this meteorological anomaly.

Before it can reach space, warm infrared radiation from the Earth’s surface is frequently trapped by cool greenhouse gases high in the planet’s atmosphere. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the best-known of these greenhouse gases because it is emitted by a variety of human activities, but water vapour is also a powerful greenhouse gas. It has a significantly higher overall warming effect due to its high atmospheric abundance. Furthermore, Sejas claims that the continent’s greenhouse effect changes dramatically when water vapour is scarce, as it is above central Antarctica. When you factor in a temperature inversion, a weather phenomenon in which the atmosphere warms as altitude increases rather than cooling, things start to go awry.

  • Population

There are many bases in Antarctica; approximately 30 countries have 82 bases. Some of these bases are only open during the summer, while others are open all year. Antarctica’s summer population is around 5000 people (not including those on ships), but this drops to just 1000 people during the long, dark, and cold winter. The relatively accessible Antarctic Peninsula is home to numerous bases run by the United Kingdom, Chile, Argentina, the Czech Republic, and others. Some are permanent, such as Rothera, while others, such as Fossil Bluff, are only open during the summer.

According to the study, the population of Adélie penguins has increased 135-fold in the last 14,000 years as more breeding sites have been exposed to retreating glaciers. This population explosion indicates that current environmental conditions for Adélie penguins are better than they were at the end of the last ice age. Despite the massive increase in penguin populations, research indicates that the effects of climate change are not uniform. Because of the large regional variability, geographically distant populations of Adélie penguins will experience different environmental impacts, and the authors warn that the number of Adélie penguins is declining in some parts of Antarctica.

Shamil Mujeeb
Shamil Mujeeb
A Student and a Content Writer, Write articles about the Lifestyle, Travel, Explore, Health and Food.

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