In conversation with Fangyi Tan, PhD student, Sea Level Research team at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
1. Will melting ice sheets in such quantities pose a threat to Southeast Asia in the future?
A recent study found that the Earth has lost a staggering 28 trillion tonnes of ice between 1994 and 2017. The scientists commented in a related news article that the melting of glaciers and ice sheets could cause sea levels to rise by as much as a metre by the end of this century.
One metre may not sound like a lot, but there is a positive feedback when we melt ice. Ice is very reflective; when we melt ice and replace the reflective surface with a darker surface that absorbs more heat, this leads to greater warming that further enhances melting.
About the Earth Observatory of Singapore
The Earth Observatory of Singapore conducts fundamental research on earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and climate change in and around Southeast Asia, toward safer and more sustainable societies.
About the EOS Sea Level Research Team
By the end of the 21st century, up to 1 billion people worldwide will live along low elevation coastal zones. These low-lying coastal regions are vulnerable to changes in sea level brought about by climate change, storms or earthquakes. Our research concerns sea-level change. The Sea Level Research Laboratory aims to understand and integrate the external and internal mechanisms that have determined sea-level changes in the past, and which will shape such changes in the future. Our findings, therefore, impact upon important ethical, social, economic, and political problems specifically facing such coastal regions.