Australia needs to fund long term Antarctic research. For one thing, we need to be able to make better predictions about rising sea levels.
Recent IPCC reports considered a 1.1 metre sea rise by 2100. This sea rise would regularly flood $226 billion of Australian roads, rail, commercial buildings and homes in our coastal regions.
However, observations now suggest that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is in irreversible retreat and this would add an extra five metres to sea levels. The key question now is how quickly will it happen. The science community can still only guess at this – guesses vary from 200 to 1000 years or more.
The author, Matt King, is professor of polar geodesy … at the University of Tasmania. His work has been recognised by the Royal Society of London.