Scientists have warned that if global temperatures were to reach 4C above pre-industrial levels, it would unleash ‘unimaginable amounts of water’.

More than a third of all Antarctic ice shelves would be at risk of collapsing as well.

In a study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters on Thursday, it found that if the ice shelves collapse, the water would pour into the sea.

An Ice shelf, a thick floating slab of ice that forms where a glacier or ice flows down a coastline, are typically found in Antarctica, Canada, Greenland and the Russian Arctic.

They play a vital role in limiting the sea levels rising, writes Peoples World.

However, boffins are warning that limiting global temperatures to a 2C rise rather than 4C would cut the area at risk by half.

At 1.5C, only 14% of the ice shelf in Antarctica would be at risk, Ella Gilbert, the study’s lead author said.

At the moment, predictions state that at 4C, 67% of the area on the Antarctic Peninsula, and a third of the area of all Antarctic ice shelves, could collapse.

Gilbert said: “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.”

She added: “Previous research has given us the bigger picture in terms of predicting Antarctic ice shelf decline, but our new study uses the latest modelling techniques to fill in the finer detail and provide more precise projections.”

Coastal areas across the globe would be affected and at risk, say the scientists

The 2015 Paris climate agreement aims to keep temperature rise below 2C, but current emissions reduction plans are out of line with this target, according to a United Nations report.

Gilbert said the new study highlights the importance of avoiding the worst “consequence of climate change”.

She warned more Antarctic ice shelves could be lost in the coming decades if temperatures continue to rise at their current rates.

Also, coastal areas all over the world would be at risk, not just those near the peninsula or ice shelves themselves.