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Melting Atlantic Glacier Will Increase Sea-level by 20 Percent More Than Previously Predicted

Vanishing glaciers | Representative photo.

Vanishing glaciers | Representative photo.

The rising glacier bedrock, which was not seen as a big cause of concern, will add a global average of one-metre rise in our sea levels in the coming thousand years.

Global warming is causing our glaciers to melt faster and our sea level is rising by an alarming global average of 3.3 millimetres per year since 1993, which is accelerating since. New calculations show that the continuous collapse of the West Atlantic Ice Sheet, which involves melting of the glacier and the rising of its bedrock, will flood our oceans 20% more than the previously calculated global average of three to four metres. The rising bedrock, which was not seen as a big cause of concern, will add a global average of one-metre rise in our sea levels in the coming thousand years, found thestudypublished in Science Advances journal on April 30.

This rise was explained by glacial rebound or the outflux of the earth’s mantle, the viscous layers of rock and ice beneath the earth’s crust. When a glacier melts, it becomes heavier pushing down harder on its bedrock, the mantle. At one point when it becomes too heavy for its bedrock, it pushes downwards into the mantle. As a result, the mantle starts bulging out causing a rise in the sea level of the surrounding ocean. In an analogy,NASAcompares it to a thick pudding not being able to hold the weight of a vanilla wafer, which has become heavy because a strawberry is put on the top. As a result, the pudding bulges out. Here, the pudding of the mantle causes the oceans to flood their coastlines.

The glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica are pushing their crust down for thousands of years. If the speed is increased, it will wreak havoc on coastlines. And the glaciers are already melting at a higher speed, thanks to the global warming caused by the continuous damage to the environment by humans. The rise in sea level has a catastrophic impact in coming decades such as chronic floods level will rise to higher than homes of 300 million people. By 2100, about 200 million people lose their homes permanently to the flooded oceans.

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first published:May 04, 2021, 18:51 IST