The Melting in Antartica: Much Worse Than Predicted

Yale's potent Environment 360 site interviews a leading glaciologist, Richard Bindschadler, and hears some alarming news about the melt in the coastal Pine Island and Thwaites ice shelves….

e360: I know that the IPCC was saying maybe 1 ½ feet or a
half-meter of sea level rise in the 21st century. Is it your opinion
that we could be looking at significantly larger sea level rise?

Bindschadler: Yeah, I think there’s sort of an unspoken
consensus in my community that if you want to look at the very largest
number in the IPCC report, they said 58 centimeters, so almost two feet
by the end of the century. That’s way low, and it’s going to be well
over a meter. We may see a meter by the middle of the century.

e360: Oh my gosh.

Bindschadler: And if this behavior that we’re seeing in Pine
Island, and even Greenland continues — and we don’t see any reason why
it wouldn’t continue — well, over a meter by the end of the century, I
think is almost certain.

e360: And some people are saying that two meters is certainly not out of the realm of possibility in the 21st century.

Bindschadler: Absolutely. That’s correct, yeah.

e360: Have you been taken aback by the rapidity of the changes in the ice sheets and glaciers both in West Antarctica and Greenland?

Bindschadler: Yeah, absolutely astounded.

As they say, read the whole thing. Here's a picture of what's happening (via NASA)…as you can imagine, the purplish areas represent the melting, the greenish areas represent the softening.


Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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