The West Antarctic glaciers are breaking up with us


It’s Monday, and you probably wanted to ease into the week with a post about cute animals or something. Instead, today scientists broke the news that the West Antarctic ice sheet is now in irreversible collapse, meaning a likely 10 to 15 foot global sea-level rise in coming centuries.

Before you get cranking on that ark (maybe you can have those cute animals after all!), let’s take a deep breath. There’s still uncertainty about how cataclysmic this particular cataclysm is. New York Times blogger Andy Revkin points out that “collapse” is a relative term in geological affairs. Both sets of researchers behind the two separate studies, upcoming in the journals Science and Geophysical Research Letters, agree that we could have a good century or two of continued incremental rise before the melt starts to really speed up. It might take anywhere between 200 and 1,000 years before the ice in…

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