London (CNN) More than a third of the Antarctic ice shelf risks collapsing into the sea if global temperatures reach 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels as climate change warms the world, a new study from the UK’s University of Reading has warned. In a forecasting study, scientists found that 34% of the area of all Antarctic ice shelves, measuring some half a million square kilometers, could destabilize if world temperatures were to rise by 4 degrees. […] They can help limit the rise in global sea levels by acting like a dam, slowing the flow of melting ice and water into the oceans. […] “Ice shelves are important buffers preventing glaciers on land from flowing freely into the ocean and contributing to sea level rise. When they collapse, it’s like a giant cork being removed from a bottle, allowing unimaginable amounts of water from glaciers to pour into the sea,” study lead author Ella Gilbert, a climate scientist in the University of Reading’s Department of Meteorology, said in a statement. […] In the new study, which used high-resolution regional climate modeling to predict the impact of increased melting and water runoff on ice shelf stability, researchers say that limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius rather than 4 degrees Celsius would halve the area at risk and potentially avoid significant sea level rise.
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