Scientists lay out how to save a melting Antarctica — and the rest of the world – CNN

CNN goes inside Antarctica 03:41

(CNN)Sea levels will rise and all coastal countries could be seriously threatened by flooding if nothing is done to stop the massive melt of sea ice in Antarctica, according to nine award-winning scientists who have spent decades studying the icy continent and the waters around it.

They are proposing two scenarios, onebleak, one promising, for what could happen by 2070 in Wednesday’s edition of the journal Nature.
The paper is highly speculative rather than making forecasts. These scenarios are more like data-driven conversation starters according to the authors, all who have won the Tinker-Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica game out what could happen if the world does nothing — or if policy-makers take significant action in the next 10 years to stop the destruction.
Related interactive: Protecting the Antarctic
And although you may never get to see Antarctica for yourself, these scientists want you to know that what happens in this remote region has a significant impact in your own backyard.

Story highlights

  • Nine scientists think though what could happen if sea ice melts in Antarctica by 2070
  • If no steps are taken, sea levels will rise; fish and penguins will die; the US could see $1 trillion in damage
  • If policy-makers try to limit pollution, Antarctica will still be vulnerable but can be saved

(CNN)Sea levels will rise and all coastal countries could be seriously threatened by flooding if nothing is done to stop the massive melt of sea ice in Antarctica, according to nine award-winning scientists who have spent decades studying the icy continent and the waters around it.

Related interactive: Protecting the Antarctic
And although you may never get to see Antarctica for yourself, these scientists want you to know that what happens in this remote region has a significant impact in your own backyard.

They are proposing two scenarios, onebleak, one promising, for what could happen by 2070 in Wednesday’s edition of the journal Nature.
The paper is highly speculative rather than making forecasts. These scenarios are more like data-driven conversation starters according to the authors, all who have won the Tinker-Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica game out what could happen if the world does nothing — or if policy-makers take significant action in the next 10 years to stop the destruction.

Why we should care about Antarctica

Yes, there are adorable penguins living there, but that’s not the only reason we should care about Antarctica. It is covered by ice sheets that get channeled into the oceans through a network of ice streams and glaciers. Recently, the continent has seen a reduction in the extent of floating ice shelves. The shelves have also thinned due to our warming planet, scientists think.

Penguins, Seals, and Krill: Antarctica’s fragile food chain

The Southern Ocean that surrounds the continent is vital to the health of all the rest. It soaks up more heat and carbon than any other ocean, and in doing so, it helps slow the speed with which the atmosphere is warming. The region also does the world a real service by returning nutrient-rich deep water to the surface, and it exports these nutrients to lower latitudes that rely on them to support the life in our seas.

…(read more).

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