Not hundreds of years, not even 100 years but "20-50 years" is how long we have before the oceans are 3 feet higher than they are today. New studies of Pine Island Bay in Antartica have cause climate scientists (the 97% that say Global Warming is real and actually happening) to drastically revise their estimate of how quickly this planet is headint towards catastrophe.
The glaciers of Pine Island Bay are two of the largest and fastest-melting in Antarctica. Together, they act as a plug holding back enough ice to pour 11 feet of sea-level rise into the world’s oceans — an amount that would submerge every coastal city on the planet. Minute-by-minute, huge skyscraper-sized shards of ice cliffs crumble into the sea, as tall as the Statue of Liberty and as deep underwater as the height of the Empire State Building.
“Ice is only so strong, so it will collapse if these cliffs reach a certain height,” explains Kristin Poinar, a glaciologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “We need to know how fast it’s going to happen.”
In the past few years, scientists have identified marine ice-cliff instability as a feedback loop that could kickstart the disintegration of the entire West Antarctic ice sheet this century — much more quickly than previously thought.
- Three feet of sea-level rise would be bad, leading to more frequent flooding of U.S. cities such as New Orleans, Houston, New York, and Miami. Pacific Island nations, like the Marshall Islands, would lose most of their territory. Unfortunately, it now seems like three feet is possible only under the rosiest of scenarios.
- At six feet, though, around 12 million people in the United States would be displaced, and the world’s most vulnerable megacities, like Shanghai, Mumbai, and Ho Chi Minh City, could be wiped off the map.
- At 11 feet, land currently inhabited by hundreds of millions of people worldwide would wind up underwater. South Florida would be largely uninhabitable; floods on the scale of Hurricane Sandy would strike twice a month in New York and New Jersey, as the tug of the moon alone would be enough to send tidewaters into homes