London, Jan 14 (ANI): A new modelling study by researchers at University of Oxford has revealed that a major Antarctic glacier has passed its tipping point.
Richard Katz of the University of Oxford and colleagues say that after losing increasing amounts of ice over the past decades, the glacier is poised to collapse in a catastrophe that could raise global sea levels by 24 centimeters.
Pine Island glacier (PIG) is one of many at the fringes of the West Antarctic ice sheet, reports New Scientist.
In 2004, satellite observations showed that it had started to thin, and that ice was flowing into the Amundsen Sea 25 per cent faster than it had 30 years before.
Now, the first study to model changes in the ice sheet in three dimensions shows that PIG has probably passed a critical 'tipping point'.
According to the study, PIG is irreversibly on track to lose 50 per cent of its ice in as little as 100 years, significantly raising global sea levels.
The researchers admitted that their model can represent only a simplified version of the physics that govern changes in glaciers, but say that if anything, the model is optimistic and PIG will disappear faster than it projects.
The study has been published in the Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A. (ANI)