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What would happen if all the ice on Earth melted? Obviously, sea levels would rise and some coastal cities would find themselves underwater. But global weather patterns are complex, so flooding would really just be the beginning.
If significantly greater proportions of the sun's energy were to get absorbed by the world's oceans, it would lead to massive changes to the way air moves around in the arctic and ultimately change how the Jet Stream moved around the world. A study in the journal Environmental Research Letters found that this would lead to England getting rainier, for one. A study published in Nature suggested that the Northern jet stream would start shifting southward, which would bring cold polar air with it, causing colder and snowier North American winters.
It could cause the deaths of a tremendous amount of wildlife, maybe even the extinction of some species. As the ice melts at a rate of more than 86,000 square kilometers per year, wildlife is losing critical habitat. Arctic species like whales, walruses, and seals, which depend on ice for protection and hunting, would be doomed.
The melting of the ice sheets would cause a real global catastrophe. They sit on top of land and are formed when winter snow doesn't melt. Over time, these layers stack up and form a big thick sheet. The two main ice sheets, Greenland and Antarctica, contain more than 99 percent of the freshwater ice on Earth. The Antarctic Sheet has existed for 12,000 years and, according to a study published in the journal Science, it has shrank 18 percent over the last 20 years. On top of that, the rate of ice melting is speeding up, according to new research from Princeton University. According to a study published in the journal Climate Dynamics, if all the ice in the Greenland Ice Sheet were to melt, global sea level would rise by about 24 feet. If all of Antarctica Sheet were to melt, sea levels would rise by 200 feet. This could cause the entire Eastern Seaboard of the US would be underwater, and Florida would vanish altogether.
One country in particular is hoping that the world acts quickly to deal with this problem. Check out this video from our sister network Seeker, to see how the Maldives is dealing with rising sea levels. Otherwise, we'd love to hear your thoughts about climate change, global warming, and rising sea levels. Be sure to leave a comment down below.
Melting Arctic sea ice could increase summer rainfall in northwest Europe suggests new study (Science Daily)
"A new study offers an explanation for the extraordinary run of wet summers experienced by Britain and northwest Europe between 2007 and 2012. The study found that loss of Arctic sea ice shifts the jet stream further south than normal resulting in increased rain during the summer in northwest Europe."
Antarctic Ice Shelf in Last Throes of Collapse (Live Science)
"A vast Antarctica ice shelf that partly collapsed in 2002 has only a few years left before it fully disappears, according to a new study."
Gravity data show that Antarctic ice sheet is melting increasingly faster (Science Daily)
"Researchers 'weighed' Antarctica's ice sheet using gravitational satellite data and found that during the past decade, Antarctica's massive ice sheet lost twice the amount of ice in its western portion compared with what it accumulated in the east. Their conclusion -- the southern continent's ice cap is melting ever faster."
Direct evidence for a positive feedback in climate change: Global warming itself will likely accelerate warming (Science Daily)
"A new study has confirmed the existence of a positive feedback operating in climate change whereby warming itself may amplify a rise in greenhouse gases resulting in additional warming."