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Rapid Antarctic melting looks certain, even if emissions goals are met

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The New York Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: New research from the British Antarctic Survey suggests that some level of accelerated melting is unavoidable in the Antarctic
• The research examines the Amundsen Sea’s waters and how they interact with the Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers

🔭 The context: Ice shelves in West Antarctica play a pivotal role in balancing the flow of glaciers into the ocean
• As they undergo thinning because of underwater melting, there's a subsequent increase in land ice transitioning into the sea, which poses a threat of elevated sea levels.

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Ice melting in West Antarctica can significantly contribute to global sea level rise
• Limiting global warming to the Paris Agreement’s ambitious aim of 1.5°C may not halt this melting, as the current trajectory suggests this target is unlikely to be met

⏭️ What's next: The study predicts that water temperatures could warm more than three times faster in the coming decades, largely irrespective of emission reductions

💬 One quote: “It appears that we may have lost control of the West Antarctic ice-shelf melting over the 21st century,” (Kaitlin A. Naughten, ocean scientist with the British Antarctic Survey)

📈 One stat: If global warming were limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, temperatures in the Amundsen would stabilize after about 2060 but in a worst-case emissions scenario, ocean warming would accelerate even more post-2045

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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