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Sea Level Rises Faster Due to Warmer Temperatures in West Antarctica


20121227-004902Previous predictions about rates of sea level rise might have been wrong, according to new research. The results indicate that West Antarctica is warming twice as fast hitting the 2.4 degrees Celsius (4.3F) average temperature increase since the 1950s.

Such findings show that ice sheets are much more likely to melt, which will consequently cause a global sea level raise of 3.3 meters.

Geography professor David Bromwich from Ohio State University is certain that the western part of the ice sheet is greatly endangered. The higher temperatures in summer are likely to cause melting of the deeply frozen ice of Antarctica.

These new findings are particularly important for countries such as Bangladesh and many of the Pacific islands, which are very low-laying.

According to Reuters, the climate experts from the UN panel predicted rising of sea level by 18 to 59 cm this century. Most of this would be caused by melting of Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets.

In the journal Nature Geoscience, experts report that the rise in temperatures in remote regions could be compared to the one on the Antarctic Peninsula to the north.  Glaciated areas in the Northern hemisphere have been already melting at significant rates.

Over the past few years, the Antarctic ice has been melting quite drastically, causing some major collapses, causing sea level rise. Andrew Monaghan, a co-author at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, states that the problem will accelerate is similar collapse occurs to an ice shelf that holds one of the large West Antarctic glaciers.

In 2005 such event was already observed in that region, and researchers are concerned that the newly estimated increase in temperatures will lead to more frequent and extensive melting. Currently, West Antarctica contributes with 0.3 mm a year to sea level rise, while Greenland accounts for 0.7 mm.

The new research was based on computer simulations of temperature measurements from 1958 to date.

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