Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition

Studies Show West Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Collapsing

Studies Show West Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Collapsing
Studies Show West Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Collapsing
GUESTS: Helen Amanda Fricker, Professor, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at Scripps Institution of Oceanography Jeff Severinghaus, Professor of Geosciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

One of the most alarming indicators that climate change will alter life on Earth was announced last month by two separate studies of the West Antarctic ice sheet.

Researchers at the University of Washington and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena arrived at similar conclusions.

The scientists found that warming oceans are causing an unstoppable chain reaction in melting the ice shelf and glaciers, threatening 10 percent of Antarctica's total land ice volume. The scientists say that kind of melting could raise sea levels by as much as 15 feet in the next several hundred years.

NASA has posted a handy primer on the "Unstable" West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Click on the video below to see an animation of the process that scientists say is leading to the melting of glaciers in West Antartica.

Runaway Glaciers in West Antarctica

Explore all national, state and local returns now.