Breaching Paris Agreement Could Accelerate Melting of Antarctic Ice Shelf

Breaching Paris Agreement Could Accelerate Melting of Antarctic Ice Shelf
Breaching Paris Agreement Could Accelerate Melting of Antarctic Ice Shelf
Breaching Paris Agreement Could Accelerate Melting of Antarctic Ice Shelf
Breaching Paris Agreement Could Accelerate Melting of Antarctic Ice Shelf

Breaching Paris Agreement Could Accelerate Melting of Antarctic Ice Shelf

Breaching Paris Agreement Could Accelerate Melting of Antarctic Ice Shelf

Breaching Paris Agreement Could Accelerate Melting of Antarctic Ice Shelf

Breaching the two-degree Celsius temperature goal outlined in the Paris Agreement may trigger substantial melting of the Filchner Ronne Ice Shelf in Antarctica, the world’s second-largest ice sheet, contributing significantly to rising global sea levels, according to research from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany.

Link Between Warm Deep Water Pulses and Ice Shelf Melting

Researchers utilized modeling to analyze the impact of warm deep water pulses entering the Filchner Trough, which lies beneath the eastern section of the ice shelf. The Antarctic Coastal Current regulates water temperature in the trough, and increased volumes of warm deep water during pulses were found to correlate with heightened melting of the ice shelf’s base.

Warming Trends and Sea Level Rise Concerns

The study, published in Communications Earth & Environment, warns that continuous warming of water in the trough could lead to more frequent warm water pulses, resulting in increased melting and a subsequent rise in global sea levels. The research considered different climate scenarios, including the best-case scenario aligned with the Paris Agreement’s two-degree Celsius goal.

Under this scenario, warm water pulses increased in frequency, and by 2100, the average trough temperature rose by 0.5 degrees Celsius compared to the 1850-2014 period. However, the study also noted that between these pulses, temperatures in the trough returned closer to the 1850-2014 mean, limiting ice shelf melting. The research highlights the critical connection between global temperature increases and the potential acceleration of Antarctic ice melting, emphasizing the importance of adhering to climate agreements to mitigate these impacts.

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