According to a new study by researchers at Harvard University, published in the journal Science Advances , the global rise in sea level associated with the possible collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet has been significantly underestimated in previous studies .
The new predictions show that, in the event of a total collapse of the ice sheet, estimates of global sea level rise would expand by one more meter in just a thousand years .
Water ejection mechanism
As explained by one of the researchers, Evelyn Powell :
If the West Antarctic ice sheet were to collapse, the most cited estimate of the resulting global mean sea level rise is 3.2 meters. What we have shown is that the water ejection mechanism will add an additional meter, or 30%, to the total.
The so-called " water ejection mechanism " occurs when the solid bedrock on which the West Antarctic ice sheet sits bounces upward as the ice melts and the total weight of the ice sheet decreases. .
Bedrock is below sea level, so when it rises, it pushes surrounding water into the ocean, contributing to sea level rise.
Antarctica loses six times more ice annually than 40 years ago . Specifically, between 1979 and 1990, Antarctica shed an average of 40 gigatons of ice mass per year. (One gigaton is one billion tons). From 2009 to 2017, approximately 252 gigatons were lost per year .