The Climate Change Shock You Didn’t Hear About


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rignot-fullWhile the Australian media was busy talking about the budget, two new studies of Antarctic Ice were released. The first used satellite radar to track the retreat of a number of large glaciers in West Antarctica. The second used computer simulations of one of the Thwaites glacier. These glaciers in West Antarctica contain enough water to raise the global sea level by up to 3 metres. No one would be surprised to know that the studies have shown more evidence that global warming is causing these glaciers to retreat faster. What should be a real wake up call to everyone is the conclusion that it’s now too late to stop!

According to lead author of the satellite radar study, NASA and UC Irvine’s Eric Rignot, the glaciers of West Antartica have “reached the point of no return”. It is estimated that over the next several centuries the entire ice shelf of West Antartica will collapse and become a major contributor to sea level rises.

Regardless of whether or not you believe humans are responsible for climate change, there is no doubt that in future decades we will increasingly have to deal with the aftermath of it. It is disappointing that such a important story has been lost in the noise of short term politics.

Does this mean we’re all going to die? Definitely not. What it does mean is that we need to advance beyond just the greenhouse gas emission reductions world leaders have been talking about for years. To really make any difference we’ll need to have technology to directly reduce global temperature. Such weather control measures are scientifically possible but difficult. We need to start working on them now!

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