Scientists are concerned about the new discovery. It turns out that about five million years ago, a huge East Antarctic ice sheet melted, raising the sea level by 20 meters. What will happen if the current increase in global temperature will lead to the same consequences?
About five million years ago, sheets of ice at the South Pole began to melt because of ancient global warming. This has caused a rise in sea level by 20 meters. Scientists came to the conclusion that most of this increase was caused by the melting of a large ice sheet in East Antarctica.
The data obtained in the study of the dynamic behavior of the ice sheet in East Antarctica, was published this week in the journal Nature Geo science. Previously, it was found that5 to 3 million years ago, in the Pliocene era, the West Antarctic ice sheet melted, and the shield of Green land did not exist. But the fact is melting so a large area of East Antarctica was a surprise to scientists.
East Antarctic ice cover – this is a huge reservoir the size of Australia. Its size fluctuated since its formation 34 million years ago, but previously it was thought that it stabilized around 14 million years ago.
The atmosphere continue to rise, the ice of East Antarctica will become very vulnerable and will undergo big changes – said study author Carys Cook, a geochemist at Imperial College London.
Cook and her team suggest that the melting of the Antarctic ice was partly due to the fact that most of it was lying in a pool below sea level. The ice was in constant direct contact with water when the ocean is heated during the Pliocene, the ice sheet slowly melted.
To understand what processes took place in East Antarctica during the Pliocene Epoch, Cook and her colleagues studied sediments of the deep sea wells about 300 kilometers off the coast of Adelie Land in East Antarctica.
Fat samples obtained during drilling are between 3,3-5,3 million years. These deposits are evidence of continental erosion, and this means that the climate is changed. It is clear that once there was a glacier, which then retreated.
Research into the causes of melting glaciers in the Pliocene may help scientists understand how sea levels may rise as a result of the current global warming. In the atmosphere of the Pliocene was as high content of carbon dioxide, as well as today, and the global temperature was 2-3 degrees higher. By assumption, Cook, by the end of the century the Earth’s climate may be completely identical to the Pliocene as well as scientists observe a temporary stop global warming.
Currently, the researcher’s task to find out how sharp it was melting ice sheets and how long it took to sea level has increased significantly. This information should help in predicting the future effects of global warming.