The Washington PostThe Washington Post

Antarctica's 'sleeping giant' risks melting, threatens spike in sea levels

By Rachel Pannett

10 Aug 2022 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

You should read this report to understand the enormity of what could happen if the East Antarctica Ice Sheet, which is the size of USA, starts melting if temperature rise isn't kept under 2C.

Scientists say the window for protecting the world's largest ice sheet from significantly shrinking is narrowing, with troubling new predictions that it has the potential to unleash sea level rises of up to 16 1/2 feet over the long term if greenhouse gas emissions targets aren't met.

The vast East Antarctica Ice Sheet, which is about the size of the United States, used to be considered less vulnerable to climate change than the Greenland and West Antarctica ice sheets - where several glaciers have been losing ice rapidly as they are undercut by warm ocean water. Over recent years, however, research has started to emerge challenging that view.

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content
Or

LoginForm.agreeToTerms