SOURCE: New York Times

DATE: September 3, 2016

AUTHOR: Justin Gillis

SNIP: The research, likely to take years, may supply a figure for how quickly the ocean was able to rise under past conditions, but not necessarily a maximum rate for the coming decades. The release of greenhouse gases from human activity is causing the planet to warm rapidly, perhaps faster than at any other time in the Earth’s history. The ice sheets in both Greenland and West Antarctica are beginning to melt into the sea at an accelerating pace.

Scientists had long hoped that any disintegration of the ice sheets would take thousands of years, but recent research suggests the breakup of West Antarctica could occur much faster. In the worst-case scenario, this research suggests, the rate of sea-level rise could reach a foot per decade by the 22nd century, about 10 times faster than today.