Antarctic Ice Sheet Falling Apart in ‘Irreversible Retreat’

New York Times: “A large section of the mighty West Antarctica ice sheet has begun falling apart and its continued melting now appears to be unstoppable, two groups of scientists reported on Monday. If the findings hold up, they suggest that the melting could destabilize neighboring parts of the ice sheet and a rise in sea level of 10 feet or more may be unavoidable in coming centuries.”

“Global warming caused by the human-driven release of greenhouse gases has helped to destabilize the ice sheet, though other factors may also be involved, the scientists said.”

“Two scientific papers released on Monday by the journals Science and Geophysical Research Letters came to similar conclusions by different means.”

Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at the University of California, Irvine, said in a NASA news conference that the ice sheet’s retreat has “passed the point of no return.”

A separate team led by Ian Joughin of the University of Washington also “found that a slow-motion collapse had become inevitable. Even if the warm water now eating away at the ice were to dissipate, it would be ‘too little, too late to stabilize the ice sheet,’ Dr. Joughin said. ‘There’s no stabilization mechanism.’”

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