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Antarctica: Latest report says melting sea ice 'not yet irreversible'

A team of international scientists heads to Chile's station Bernardo O'Higgins, Antarctica, on Jan. 22, 2015.
A team of international scientists heads to Chile's station Bernardo O'Higgins, Antarctica, on Jan. 22, 2015. Copyright Natacha Pisarenko/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Natacha Pisarenko/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews
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In its recently published 'Impact of Climate Change report,' the Potsdam Institute for Research warned that while the marine ice sheet is not destabilised yet, the point of no return could come sooner rather than later.

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Antarctica is disappearing. And while the EU is still pushing to limit global warming and become climate neutral by 2050, at this rate sea ice will continue to melt slowly but surely for generations to come.

That was a conclusion that the Potsdam Institute for Research made in its recently published ' Impact of Climate Change report' - and the future of the largest frozen area on the planet looks bleak.

Several glaciers are receding and figures on melting in Antarctica make for difficult reading: with record temperatures across much of the world this year, 2.7 million kilometres square of sea ice has been lost. And that's far greater than experts expected.

"That's about the same as ten times the area of the United Kingdom. So this is a massive negative sea ice anomaly that we haven't really seen on this scale before within the period that we've monitored over the past 45 years," Norman Ratcliffe from the British Antarctic Survey explained.

This dramatic loss of sea ice is causing catastrophic failures in the reproduction of local wildlife, such as emperor penguins.

The report says there are no signs of irreversible retreat yet, but we could reach the point of no return sooner rather than later.

"Unless we want to see a lot more of these things happening in the future, we've really got to get on with decarbonising," stressed polar scientist, Professor Martin Siegert.

"That won't solve the problem, but there will be adaptation that's absolutely needed."

The complete collapse of the Antarctic could take hundreds or thousands of years but would mean several meters of global sea-level rise for 10,000 years. But a more intense warming in the future would further accelerate this process.

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