PHOTOS: Five Global Warming "Tipping Points"

PHOTOS: Five Global Warming
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5. West Antarctica Islands Revealed

If the ice sheet over West Antarctica (above, seas pound a calving Ross Ice Shelf) disintegrates due to rising temperatures--revealing islands that are currently buried--potentially dangerous global warming could result, a bulk of experts agreed in a March 2009 survey (West Antarctica map).

Already, warming temperatures have accelerated fast-moving ice streams, causing a rush of fresh water that may affect ocean ecosystems around Antarctica.

Increased meltwater from West Antarctica may also raise the world's sea level by up to 20 to 23 feet (6 to 7 meters), the study says.

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—Photograph by Jack Fletcher/NGS
 
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