Antarctica is losing ice six times faster today than in 1980s

Antarctica is losing ice six times faster today than in 1980s

Antarctica is losing ice six times faster today than in 1980s

"Melting is taking place in the most vulnerable parts of Antarctica, parts that hold the potential for multiple meters of sea level rise in the coming century or two". Global sea levels have already risen seven to eight inches since 1900. That means the region is losing six times as much ice as it was four decades ago, an unprecedented pace in the era of modern measurements.

In the last ten years, the study found West Antarctica was responsible for 63 percent of the total loss, East Antarctica contributed 20 percent and 17 percent of the total loss was from the Antarctic Peninsula.

And Antarctica isn't the only contributor to sea level rise - a recent study found that our oceans are warming at a faster rate than expected due to climate change, and warmer waters mean rising seas. The continental ice sheet is, by far, the largest single mass of ice on Earth - miles deep in places and containing more than 26 million cubic kilometers of ice.

"What's different is the mass budget team [the new study's authors] have changed the way they estimate errors, which makes their results appear to be about five times more precise", Shepherd wrote Earther in an email, adding that the new results for East Antarctica represent something of an "outlier".

This 2016 photo provided by NASA shows the Getz Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

Antarctic melting has raised global sea levels more than 1.4 centimetres between 1979 and 2017, said the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a peer-reviewed USA journal, on Monday.

A landmark study published in Nature in June past year found that Antarctic ice melt had tripled since 1992, but did not show significant melting in the east. However, if the ice flow speeds up, the ice sheet's losses can outpace snowfall volume.


It's no secret that the frozen continent is melting more rapidly now due to human-induced global warming.

The team was able to discern that between 1979 and 1990, Antarctica shed an average of 40 gigatons of ice mass annually.

The new research highlights how some massive glaciers, ones that to this point have been studied relatively little, are losing significant amounts of ice. While this is certainly a lot, from 2009 to 2017 this number increased to an unthinkable 252 billion tonnes (278 billion tons). The study notes that the glacier is "grounded on a ridge with a steep retrograde slope immediately upstream", meaning that additional losses could cause the glacier to rapidly retreat.

"The Wilkes Land sector of East Antarctica has, overall, always been an important participant in the mass loss, even as far back as the 1980s, as our research has shown", said Rignot.

CO2 emissions can not get any higher to avoid losing more sea-ice, he said.

"It's extremely important to find out what is happening there", he told Reuters.

The latest research shows that East Antarctic melting deserves "closer attention", according to the PNAS report.

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