The West Antarctic Collapse Is Now Unstoppable — Here's What That Will Do To The World
1) The demise of the Thwaites glacier could raise sea level by almost two feet all on its own. The bulk of the ice breakdown won't happen for at least another 200 years, though.
2) This kind of a sea level rise will have devastating impacts on coastal cities. In the case of a major storm, this measly 1.5 foot sea level rise combined with a storm surge during a hurricane could lead to $3.5 trillion in assets and 4.8 million people at risk in Miami
3) "Very crudely, we are now committed to global sea level rise equivalent to a permanent Hurricane Sandy storm surge," glaciologist Richard Alley of Pennsylvania State University said in Science Magazine.
4) Melting of the Thwaites — the "linchpin" for the ice mass around the Amundsen — will destabilize the surrounding area, undermining much of West Antarctica.
5) This area of West Antarctica has already made significant contributions to sea level rise, releasing almost as much ice into the ocean every year as the entire Greenland ice sheet does.
6) This will just increase — the combined melt from West Antarctica's Amundsen Sea glaciers would yield 4 feet of sea level rise.
7) If all of the West Antarctic Ice sheet were to melt, we could expect 13 feet of sea level rise — though that will take centuries.
8. Predictions indicate that a 12 foot sea level rise leads to 73% of Miami being flooded, 22% of New York City, and 20% of Los Angeles.
9) These numbers also do not take into account sea level rise from non-ice sources like ocean thermal expansion
— as sea water warms, it expands. From 1993 to 2010, 1.1 millimeters of sea level rise per year were from thermal expansion compared with .27 millimeters from the Antarctic Ice sheet.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/west-antarctic-ice-sheet-collapse-means-2014-5