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Could we live on Antarctica and Greenland if all the ice melted? © Getty Images

Could we live on Antarctica and Greenland if all the ice melted?

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As sea levels rise, much of the Earth will be put under water.

Asked by: Joe Elliott, Nottingham

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If both ice sheets melted, the global sea level would rise by about 68m. This would put most of Europe underwater, along with large parts of Asia, Canada and South America. Greenland and Antarctica are currently both pushed downwards by the weight of the ice on top.

Once it melted, the land would eventually spring back, but this would take tens of thousands of years. In the meantime, Antarctica would resemble a mountainous archipelago like Australasia, and Greenland would be a central bowl below sea level, defended by a ring of mountains. With a warmer climate, there would definitely be some room for human settlement, but Antarctica is geologically very similar to the Andes so it’s never going to be prime real estate.


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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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