When glacial melting becomes irreversible it’s not good, and it’s happening now.
Three teams that have modelled behaviour of Antarctica’s mighty Pine Island Glacier (PIG) tell the journal Nature Climate Change that, even if the region were to experience much colder conditions, its retreat would continue.
The glacier is a colossal feature, covering more than 160,000 sq km, it drains about 20% of all the ice flowing off the west of the White Continent. And its melt is raising sea levels. The teams write in their journal paper:
“The glacier’s associated mass loss increases substantially over the course of our simulations from the average value of 20 billion tonnes a year observed for the 1992-2011 period, up to and above 100 billion tonnes a year, equivalent to 3.5-10mm eustatic sea-level rise over the following 20 years.” (By way of comparison, West Antarctica as a whole contributes about 0.3mm per year to sea level rise.)
The only way to reset nature to a balanced state is to reduce consumption of natural resources by humanity, which is not anticipated soon. In fact, it is not even an objective of any governments or the rich and powerful.