Rapid Melting of West Antarctic Ice Worries Scientists

January 26, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. analysis (n.) 
[uh-nal-uh-sis]– the careful study of something
Example: The analysis of soil around the factory showed that the soil contained dangerous chemicals.

2. projected (adj.) [pro-jek-ted]– planned or thought to happen in the future
Example: The projected increase in the Earth’s temperatures worries many people.

3. melt (v.) [melt]– to become liquid
Example: The ice cubes in the glass melted after some time.

4. disintegrate (v.) [dis-in-tuh-greyt]– to break apart or separate into smaller parts
Example: Skiers must be careful of snowy mountaintops that can suddenly disintegrate.

5. calculate (v.) [kal-kyuh-leyt]– to estimate or to make a guess based on mathematics
Example: The scientists calculated the age of the dinosaur bones.

Read the text below.

An analysis of temperature   recordings taken in West Antarctica has revealed that temperatures in West Antarctica have increased by 2.4 degrees Celsius.

Although the temperature increase seems small, it is three times higher than the global average, and twice more than the temperatures scientists had previously projected. The data means that West Antarctica is one of the fastest-warming places on the Earth, says David Bromwich, a researcher from the Byrd Polar Research Center in Ohio.

Scientists believe the melting West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has already contributed about 10% to the rise in the world’s sea level. A continued temperature increase in the area will speed up the melting of the WAIS. If the WAIS melts even more, towns and cities located close to the sea will get flooded.

If the WAIS disintegrates or melts completely, the world’s sea level would rise by at least 3.05 meters, although scientists say the ice sheet would take several hundred years to disintegrate.

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a research group set up by the United Nations, calculated that sea levels would rise 18 to 59 centimeters by the year 2100.

However, last June 2012, the US National Research Council said they believed that sea levels would rise two to three times higher than the UN panel’s calculation.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         If global warming continues, what do you think the Earth will be like in the future?
·         Should we worry about things that may not affect us in our lifetimes? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Do you think that countries all over the world are doing enough to address the problem of global warming? Why or why not?
·         How can regular people help solve the problem of global warming?


January 26, 2013