Antarctica is losing ice at an increasingly rapid rate

Antarctica is losing ice at an increasingly rapid rate

Antarctica is losing ice at an increasingly rapid rate

The study shows that from 1992 through 2011, the continent lost ice at a rate of almost 84 billion tons of ice a year - accounting for a 0.2 mm per year contribution to sea level rise.

We have long suspected that changes in Earth's climate will affect the polar ice sheets.

Estimated annual ice loss from the Antarctic Peninsula rose from 7 billion to 33 billion metric tons over the same 25-year period, due to ice shelf collapse.

Two-fifths of that ice loss occurred in the last five years, a three-fold increase in the pace at which Antarctica is shedding its kilometres-thick casing, a consortium of 84 scientists reported in the journal Nature.

At the rate that Antarctica is melting, the sea level could rise by 15 centimeters or six inches by 2100 - enough to flood Brooklyn 20 times per year, according to Shepherd.

Crevasses form on Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica, near the part of the glacier where it leaves land and extends over the ocean.

"We took all the estimates across all the different techniques, and we got this consensus, " said Isabella Velicogna, an Antarctic expert at the University of California, Irvine, and one of the many authors from institutions in 14 separate countries.

"The continent is causing sea levels to rise faster today than at any time in the past 25 years", one of the study's lead authors, Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds, said in a news release.

From 1992 to 2012, sea levels were said to be rising at an average of 0.2mm each year due to ice loss. The water nibbles at the floating edges of ice sheets from below.

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This in turn will drive big changes in the marine ecosystems of the Antarctic and for the first time permit invasive pests to colonise what was once a pristine, unspoiled landscape.

"Satellites have given us an incredible, continent-wide picture of how Antarctica is changing", said Dr. Pippa Whitehouse, a member of the IMBIE team from Durham University, according to a University of Leeds press release. We suggest that Antarctic ice volume variations in response to the range of global temperature experienced over this period - up to 2-3 ̊C above preindustrial, which correspond to future scenarios with Carbon dioxide concentrations between 400 and 500 ppm - are instead driven mostly by retreat of marine ice margins, in agreement with the latest models.

The ice sheets of Antarctica are home to as much as 90 percent of the world's freshwater supply.

A collective effort by over 80 scientists across the world used satellite data to determine estimates of ice-sheet mass balance between 1992 and 2017, ultimately calculating that global sea level increased by 7.6 mm in the period. "Things are happening. They are happening faster than we expected".

An accelerating thaw of Antarctica has pushed up world sea levels by nearly a centimeter since the early 1990s in a risk for coasts from Pacific islands to Florida, an worldwide team of scientists said on Thursday.

"These events and the sea-level rise they've triggered are an indicator of climate change and should be of concern for the governments we trust to protect our coastal cities and communities".

The changes will not be steady, in any case, said Knut Christianson, an Antarctic researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle, by email. "Thanks to the satellites our space agencies have launched, we can now track their ice losses and global sea level contribution with confidence".

Under any scenario, oceans will continue to rise for several centuries, scientists say.

An additional increase in ice losses came from the smaller glaciers of the Antarctic Peninsula, which are also melting rapidly but contain less sea level rise potential.

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