This unfortunate occurrence is hardly surprising, since scientists have been warning for some time that global warming trends are eroding the western ice sheets of Antarctica much faster than was previously expected. Indeed, Antarctica has experience an unprecedented warming over the past thirty years that have caused seven ice sheets—Prince Gustav Channel, Larsen Inlet, Larsen A, Larsen B, Wordie, Muller and the Jones Ice Shelf—to collapse completely.
It is probably too late to save the Wilkins ice sheet from collapsing. But this event should be a wakeup call for all of us to start taking the threat of global warming seriously. Although the breakup of the Wilson ice sheet won’t cause sea levels to rise because it is already floating, the melting of land-based glaciers in southern Antarctica and Greenland could have profound consequences for low-lying areas of the world and possibly even for the future climate of Europe.
As I have argued repeatedly, if we want to mitigate the more harmful effects of global warming, we have to start taking dramatic action NOW. This will inevitably mean having to DRAMATICALLY alter our way of living in the United States so that our actions have less of a negative impact on the environment. I will try to spell out in more concrete terms what I think a new model of ecological living might look like in the United States in future blogs.