Mean atmospheric O2
Geologic Time Scale
Australia with sea level +100m
This is how Australia may appear with mean sea level about 100 meters (330 feet) above today's. Such a dramatic rise in sea level could occur if all of the Earth's glaciers were to melt.
In this image the Simpson and Sturt Stony Deserts have become an evergreen-shaped inland sea while the Southern Ocean has overflowed the Nullarbor Plain and much of New South Wales. To the north the Gulf of Carpentaria has grown to include parts of Queensland and Northern Territory. Further west the Great Sandy Desert has been filled by the Indian Ocean to form a bay.
A likely cause of a catastrophic melting of the Earth ice stores would be a change in climate, a sudden rise in the global temperature accelerated by a runaway greenhouse effect. While the amount of water held by the Earth's glaciers can be calculated with some accuracy, the exact mechanism that would set those glaciers to melting, and how long it would take for them to melt, is poorly understood. Some models suggest that several millennia of higher temperatures would be required to melt all the world's glaciers, while others predict much faster processes on the scale of centuries, or even decades.
Copyright © Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.
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