While doomsday preppers all over the world fear things like the next hurricane or even the threat of war, officials with NASA look towards a much more prominent threat that is quietly being ignored. NASA scientists are not looking at the stars, but instead the frozen lands of Antarctica as the next significant threat to the humanity.
Whether we look at the theories of global warming, concerns about supervolcanos or even the mysterious “blob” of warm Pacific water, something is causing the seas around the globe to warm up. For places like the polar ice caps, this means the water bound floating ice is melting. This has little effect on the ocean levels just as ice in a cup melting in a drink has little impact on the overall level of glass.
The problem is not tied to the random floating ice melting; the more significant threat is related to the land bound ice that covers most of Antarctica. Between the areas that make up Pine Island Bay and Thwaites, there are 150 miles of land glaciers that could threaten sea levels. At its widest point, this land mass includes a piece of ice two feet thick that covers an area the size of Texas.
The ice of Pine Island Bay is melting. Regardless of the cause, the reality is that this vast ice cap is melting at an alarming rate. At first many pointed to the fact that the impact of the warming waters could take hundreds of years to be felt, but this is no longer the case according to NASA experts.
Ice melting from Pine Island Bay alone will not raise the water levels, but the more significant issue is the fact that this mass of glaciers serves as a stop valve for a massive amount of ice that can impact the levels of the ocean worldwide. According to a report from the crew at NASA:
“….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. For that reason, finding out how fast these glaciers will collapse is one of the most important scientific questions in the world today.”
In recent years it seems that the study on the warming trends wants to focus on the cause and not the overall impact of the issue. The debates about global warming versus underwater volcanos has taken away from the real issue at hand. Threats from these melting glaciers are severe enough that the mainstream media has nicknamed the glaciers of Thwaites “The Doomsday Glacier.”
With the recent studies from NASA, it is a big mistake to think that the glaciers of Pine Island Bay and Thwaites will not impact worldwide safety for hundreds of years. According to the recent figures, the melting could happen in mere decades instead. There is a huge chance that these glaciers could melt in as little as 20 years. This is not a far-off problem or something that is thousands of years in the making.
As the time frame seems to speed up as far as the realities of possibly glaciers melting, there has also been some back and forth as far as how much of an impact these melting glaciers would have on seas levels. At first, it was said to raise the water levels by 3 feet possibly; then it was bumped to 6 feet. As it currently stands, the team at NASA is saying it could increase sea levels by as much as 11 feet.
If the oceans only rise by three feet, cities like New Orleans and New York City will be impacted. They may not be entirely underwater just yet, but the threat of flooding will become more routine. The same goes for cities like Houston and Miami. Something as routine as a tropical storm suddenly becomes an emergency as they are already very near flood stages.
As the oceans raise more than 6 feet, things become grimmer. In the United States alone, there could be up to 12 million people suddenly displaced. Their home and lands suddenly no longer exist. Vulnerable world-wide cities like Mumbai and Shanghai vanish off the map. These booming metro areas could see millions of deaths as they are buried under water.
An 11-foot rise of the oceans around the world could mean widespread disaster. It is estimated that hundreds of millions of people could be displaced as their homes are underwater. The initial flooding is just the beginning of the problem though because area like New York and New Jersey could face massive amounts of on-going floods. The team at NASA is warning that they could see twice monthly flooding that are:
“…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 and buildings.”