STATES CHRONICLE – The Antarctic ice is melting, and that is no news. It is believed that the main reason for it is the increased level of CO2 in our atmosphere which is destroying the ozone layer and letting the Earth unprotected from the sun’s harmful rays.
While this is all very scary for many of us, a new research brought to surface even scarier things from the past. According to a new study published in the Journal Science, the period in which the ice sheet started to form in the Antarctic was a time when CO2 levels in the atmosphere were very low, which allowed the ice to form.
The era that led to glaciations is known as the Eocene-Oligocene boundary and happened about 34 million years ago. What initiated the forming of ice back then was a very low level of carbon dioxide. Before that, there was no ice on earth, and the levels of CO2 were over 750.
After that, there was a transition period in which the carbon dioxide concentration started to lower, and some ice started forming here and there. Then, about 32-33 million years ago CO2 levels went lower than 600 ppm at which time the ice sheet greatly expanded.
To find this out, researchers analyzed ocean sediments from the Ross Sea, near the McMurdo station. The rocks found in different layers of the core suggested that 33 million years ago the icebergs broke into ice sheets because of warmth. The rocks have once been carried around encased in ice and fell into the ocean as the ice melted.
Now that the ice is melting, all the water is flowing towards the ocean, which will highly increase and will soon flood the land. To stop that from happening, the water should be sent inland for about 700 km, so it doesn’t go to oceans. The land which has to be flooded is East Antarctica, as the West part is believed to be too unstable.
On the other hand pumping salty ocean water on ice might actually make the process of melting even quicker which will definitely be a problem. Nevertheless, scientists are looking further into the matter and hope that they will manage to find a way of keeping the ice sheet from melting and keeping the water from flooding our homes.
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