Regardless of whether we are responsible for global warming, or not, it is a real phenomenon threatening our coastal cities.
In 2015, when a humongous 225 square mile of ice broke off from Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier, it made scientists ponder what caused such a massive crack.
They now have an explanation and you better be seated if you are reading this.
Scientists have now determined, through satellite imagery, the break started in 2013 through a rift at the base of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet, a 20 mile long island.
The most probable culprit is warming ocean waters which intruded into the bedrock, well below sea levels, triggering a crack which gradually made its way upwards.
In other words, Antarctic ice is now even more susceptible to breaking than what is seen on the surface and the formation of cracks are likely to happen even faster than previously envisaged.
Scientists are still grappling with the impact of this knowledge. They still have to figure out the exact mechanism as to how these rifts get started and their overall effect on the stability of the Antarctic ice shelves.
This means that they now have to collect data from the ground and from the air and not just from space.
This is easier said than done, especially with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump around, who is attempting to shut down most studies on causes of climate change.
Although scientists from the UK and the US have already teamed up to conduct a field research into this area, long term American funding is however a question mark.
If the glacier breaks, it will be a rough ride for us all.
Scientists believe that the entire West Antarctica ice sheet is likely to collapse within the next 100 years. Sea levels are expected to rise dramatically by nearly 10 feet thus endangering coastal cities.
For humanity’s sake and for the survival of our very species, it would be wise if Trump’s administration pays heed since as per the satellite data the collapse could happen well within our lifetime.