Flashback 1977: West Antarctic Ice Sheet Melt To Raise Sea Level 20 Ft. – National Science Foundation reveals: ‘It has nothing to do with a warmer climate, just the dynamics of unstable ice’

Flood threat from polar ice

ROSS ICE SHELF, Antarctica-A huge portion of the Antarctic ice mass appears to be collapsing into the sea, a catastrophe that could raise the levels of the oceans by almost 20 feet.

Scientists have been working feverishly here at this cold, remote site to drill holes through the quarter-mile-thick ice shelf to learn more about the danger. Others have been examining different sections of the ice in search of clues.

They have found startling evidence that the destructive surge in sea levels could occur in the next 300 years, creat ing havoc for New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and other coastal cities around the globe.

THE COLLAPSE of part of the Antarctic ice sheet could occur gradually over the next 300 years, said Dr. Terrence J. Hughes, a University of Maine glacial expert brought here to study the unstable ice.

At first it might raise sea levels by a few inches a year with a much bigger increase toward the end of the collapse, he said. But it is impossible to predict how fast the ice might disintegrate.

This threat has caused such concern that the National Science Foundation ], which oversees American interests in the Antarctic, has earmarked one-fourth of our $45 million research effort here to learn more about the threatening condition of the ice sheet.

“We’re doing about the most we can do right now to study the possible collapse of the west ice sheet,” said Dr. Richard Cameron, NSF program manager for glaciology. “It has become an area of concern because we could be on the brink of a rise in sea levels.”

SUCH A RAPID rise is not unprecedented. It may have caused the Great Deluge described in the Old Testament.

The submergence of ancient coastal cities, believed to have occurred about 8,000 years ago, may have been caused by the sudden collapse of a similar ice blanket over the Canadian Hudson Bay area, said …