The Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica is soon set to lose an enormous iceberg, more than 2,000 square miles in area and more than 600 feet thick.
Charles H. Greene is a professor of Earth and Atmospheric sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, a fellow at the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and a leading expert in effects of global climate change on ocean ecosystems and extreme weather. Greene says the loss of the trillion-ton iceberg is an example of the serious climate change threats the world faces.
“As the Larsen C ice sheet is about to shed a trillion-ton iceberg the size of Delaware, it is important for the public to understand its implications. The melting of the cryosphere (all of the world’s snow and ice) is a slow process on human time scales, but it can be quite rapid on geological time scales.
“At the current atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (a little over 400 ppm), we can look back at the geological record and estimate that sea level will equilibrate in several hundred years at about 80 feet higher than present. Most of that water is currently locked up in the Greenland as well as the East and West Antarctic ice sheets.
“With an 80-foot rise in sea level, we can conclude that the majority of the world’s megacities, which are located very close to current sea level, are at risk of being inundated. This will create hundreds of millions of climate refugees and would happen during the next few hundred years.
“The world is facing some very serious threats from climate change. We will soon be locked into changes in the future that many people might characterize as catastrophic.”
Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.
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