East Antarctica’s Melt Threat High

    An Adelie penguin stands atop a block of melting ice near the French station at Dumont díUrville in East Antarctica January 23, 2010. Russia and the Ukraine on November 1, 2013 again scuttled plans to create the world's largest ocean sanctuary in Antarctica, pristine waters rich in energy and species such as whales, penguins and vast stocks of fish, an environmentalist group said. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources wound up a week-long meeting in Hobart, Australia, considering proposals for two "marine protected areas" aimed at conserving the ocean wilderness from fishing, drilling for oil and other industrial interests. Picture taken January 23, 2010. To match story ANTARCTIC-ENVIRONMENT/    REUTERS/Pauline Askin  (ANTARCTICA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT POLITICS ANIMALS) - RTX14WB2

    Pauline Askin/Reuters

    While scientists had been mostly concerned about West Antarctica’s rising temperatures, it turns out the East may show the potential to wreak even more havoc. A study published in Nature Climate Change this week argues that a small ice volume in East Antarctica, the Wilkes Basin, could cause an “irreversible discharge” that would lead to an unstoppable sea level rise of four meters. The study warns that “East Antarctica may become a large contributor to future sea-level rise on timescales beyond a century.” Though it may take as long as 200 years for that ice volume to melt and uncork, it still poses a major threat to many of the world’s major cities near bodies of water.

    Read it at The Washington Post