Science Snippet: Feb. 5, 2016

Even though we hear a great deal about loss of sea ice in the Arctic, the more immediate danger may lie in the Antarctic. There is new evidence that Western Antarctica is heating up faster than any region on the planet. This is dangerous because a huge part of the western ice sheet could collapse, which would cause an alarming rise in sea level. Remote weather station data indicate that Western Antarctica has warmed 4.4 degrees F in the last 50 years. This is twice the rise in temperature previously predicted. The ice sheet that may collapse is about the size of Greenland and it holds 10 percent of the ice of the continent. Will there be a substantial rise in sea level if the planet continues to warm? The answer is yes…the only question is when. (The Week, Jan. 18, 2013; A.J. Monaghan of the National Center for Atmospheric Research)

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