Melting of Antarctica is speeding up, worrying scientists


Global warming has caused over 3 trillion tons of ice to melt from Antarctica in the past quarter-century and tripled ice loss there in the past decade, a new study finds. And from 2012 through 2017, the continent - the world's largest ice sheet - lost 219 billion tons of ice every year.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

"If the political landscape of a future Antarctica is more concerned with rivalry, and how each country can get the most out of the continent and its oceans, then all protections could be overturned".

"We depend upon the satellite measurements to not only tell us how the ice sheets respond but also to make these calculations to sea-level contribution", Shepherd said. "If this kind of thing happens more in the future we have to be aware of that".

Experts monitoring the ice levels have revealed that Antarctica is losing 200 billion tonnes a year of ice. "This does not mean that at current atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, Antarctica won't contribute to sea level rise". The five groups of data were: mass-balance estimates from satellite altimetry, gravimetry and the input-output method, as well as model estimates of surface-mass balance and glacial isostatic adjustment, according to the paper.

"If you start removing mass from there, you can have a very large-scale evacuation of ice into the ocean and significant sea level rise, " she continued.

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Twila Moon, a research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, who was not involved in the study, said the research was further confirmation that Antarctica is losing ice at an "increasingly fast pace".

While some of that loss is due to natural processes-the calving of coastal glacials is part of the natural life cycle of Antarctica's ice sheets-the research describes what's happening as "an important indicator of climate change".

NOAARapidly rising sea levels that inundate the coastlines where billions of people live is one of the more worrisome concerns associated with climate change.

The research was done by taking data from satellites that have been flying over the Antarctic region for 25 years. However, he says that now the data is tracking a higher scenario, which could mean almost 6 inches of additional sea level rise in the next century.

While Shepherd cautioned that this is not a formal study that determines human fingerprints on climate events, he said "there are no other plausible signals to be driving this other than climate change".

"It's a hard one for us to answer because the time series is still pretty short", he said.

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In a new study, the most comprehensive to date of the continent's icy status, an global group of 84 researchers analyzed data from multiple satellite surveys, from 1992 to 2017.

A separate study - also published in Nature this week - found that global sea levels could be 3 feet higher by 2070 if nothing is done to curb the ice loss in the next few years.

Shakun and some of the co-authors of the latest report used a different approach two years ago to offer one of the most comprehensive climatological accounts ever compiled of the Greenland Ice Sheet, dating back 7.5 million years. Most of this stems from the massive Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers, which are melting rapidly due to warm ocean waters.

During the same period, the loss of ice for the Antarctic Peninsula went up from seven billion tonnes annually to 33 billion tonnes annually.

The unsettling trend is expected to continue.

In West Antarctica ice shelves are being consumed away by warm ocean water, and those in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas have thinned by 18 percent since the early 1990s.

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The growth of the ice sheet in East Antarctica has been slowed over the same time frame, as well.