Here’s What Would Happen If Antarctica Melted

In 2021, researchers from the UK Met Office and the University of Exeter released the findings (via CNN) of their study on what would happen to the planet’s weather patterns if Antarctica’s ice melted and revealed the terrain underneath. In short? Nothing will be the same.

They found that with the emerging land formations came major shifts in global wind patterns. That, in turn, led to “big increases in rainfall,” and that has consequences of its own — specifically, adding to rising ocean temperatures. They also say that monsoon seasons would become the norm, and there’s another huge problem. While the ice reflects up to 80% of the sunlight that hits it, the newly exposed land would absorb that light and heat. That would, of course, end up heating up the nearby oceans, too, which speeds up the whole process of the global climate going, what’s best described as, “to hell in a handbasket.”

Sounds unlikely? Researchers say they’ve found evidence that it’s happened before, in the Middle Miocene period. Once it happens, they say “it becomes harder for a large ice sheet to reform,” and all that means that the tipping point of Antarctica’s ice melt situation is less “Jenga played with wooden blocks,” and more “Jenga played with skyscrapers.”

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