Antarctica's Accelerating Ice Collapse
Massive Sea Level Rise in Decades
Date Written: 2014-05-20
Year Published: 2014
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX16297
Imagine Antarctica. Imagine an island, with mountains, peaks, ridges, and valleys. Imagine further that a thick layer of ice covers, not only the surface of the island that lies above the sea but also an extensive portion of the perimeter that is beneath the sea. The peaks are higher above sea level than on any continent. In winter, the sea freezes because temperatures drop to less than -80 degrees Celsius (-112 degrees Farenheight), and the island’s area grows to about 10 million square miles. In summer when some of the ice melts, the ice cover remains on average more than a mile thick, although the overall surface area of the island shrinks to about five million square miles. Even in summer, however, the island is still larger than Europe or Australia. It is Antarctica, and it is impossible to imagine.