Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Scary study warns sea level could rise by 1.6 feet if this ice shelf melts

Updated Oct 21st, 2022 9:23AM EDT
Mt Vinson, Sentinel Range, Ellsworth Mountains, Antarctica
Image: Wayne/Adobe

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

A new study from researchers has issued a dire warning about the ongoing climate change issues plaguing our planet. Researchers published their findings in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans last month. According to the study, the massive Pine Island Ice Shelf is in danger of collapsing. If it does, it could raise sea levels by 1.6 feet.

The threat and terrifying effects of climate change have long been hanging over our heads. Yet, despite warnings from the U.N., and viral graphics from NASA showcasing the changing temperatures, there’s still a lot more that could be done to reverse climate change and curb the growing danger.

This news about the Pine Island Ice Shelf is exceptionally dire, too, because that glacier holds back enough ice to raise sea levels by almost two feet. This shelf controls ice flow from the Pine Island Glacier, one of the world’s largest and fastest-changing glaciers, says. As such, its disintegration could have lasting adverse effects on our planet.

Scientists have previously reported that the Pine Island Ice Shelf is weakening due to two main problems. The first issue is enhanced thinning, resulting from the ice shelf melting into the sea. There have also been increases in “calving” events, which is when massive pieces of ice break off into icebergs. These issues could cause the shelf to collapse and raise sea levels immensely.

melting ice shelves could raise sea level immensely
Water pours off an ice shelf as global temperatures continue to rise. Image source: Don Landwehrle / Adobe

However, this new study says those two issues have had a more drastic effect on the Pine Island Shelf than we previously believed. Now, the shelf is extremely sensitive to climate change – even more than before. And, if we don’t slow emissions and cool down global temperatures, the shelf could collapse and raise sea levels by 1.6 feet.

1.6 feet might not sound like a huge change, but it really is when it comes to the sea level. This significant change could lead to entire areas along the coastline becoming submerged in, or at the least more exposed to, the oceans.

Multiple ways to curb climate change have been proposed in the past, but there’s still so much we can and need to do if we want to stop these terrible events from taking place.

More coverage: Depressing video shows what will happen to Earth if all the ice melts.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

More Science