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Antarctica ‘time bomb’ waiting to go off

File photo: The A-68 iceberg separated from the Larsen C ice shelf in July 2017. Credit: Nathan Kurtz/NASA

The earth is the sea level must be nine metres higher than they are — and the dramatic melting in Antarctica may soon plug the gap, scientists warn.

They say that global temperatures today are the same as 115,000 years ago, a time when modern humans were only just beginning to leave Africa.

Research shows that during this period, known as the Eemian, scorching ocean temperatures, caused a cataclysmic global melting of ice. As a result, the sea levels were six to nine metres higher than today.

But if the modern ocean temperatures are the same as during the Eemian, that means that our planet is “missing” a devastating sea rise.

If the oceans are to the increase of only 1.8 metres, large parts of the coastal cities would be underwater, turning streets into canals and completely submerged some of the buildings.

Scientists think the sea level, this jump is made from 115.000 years ago as a result of a sudden ice collapse in Antarctica.

The continent is vulnerable West Antarctic ice sheet — which is already retreating again today released many of the sea level in a hurry.

“There is no way to tens of meters of sea level rise, without getting tens of meters of sea level rise from Antarctica,” said Dr. Rob DeConto, Antarctic expert at the University of Massachusetts, USA

His team created a state-of-the-art computer models that show how ice responded to warm ocean temperatures during the Eemian.

They had two processes, the so-called marine ice cliff collapse, and marine ice sheet instability, quickly melted that the West Antarctic ice sheet.

They are exposed to thick glaciers that were part of the ice cap on the ocean, which means that the blocks of ice floated in the sea more quickly. Here they are quickly melted, adding thousands of tons of water to the oceans of the world.

Scientists warn if the ice shelves in Antarctica to undergo the same processes, it would be a disaster for the Earth. In combination with the melting of Greenland, we could see the sea level to rise by almost two meters in this century.

In the next century, ice loss would be even worse.

“What we pointed out was as to the nature of the damage we see in Greenland today the day to begin turning in analogue settings in Antarctica Antarctica has much thicker ice, it is a way bigger ice sheet — the consequences would be potentially really monumental for the rise of the sea level,” Dr. DeConto said.

Last month, NASA warned that Antarctica’s Thwaites glacier could collapse within a few decades, and “sink cities” after the discovery of a 300-meter doomsday cavity lurking under the ice block.

If you fancy a night in, check out these sea level “doomsday” simulator if you want to know whether your home would be wiped out by the rise of the oceans.

This story was previously published in the news.com.au.

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