Antarctica ice melting increases by 280% in last 16 years

Antarctica ice melting increases by 280% in last 16 years

The most striking finding in Monday's study is the assertion that East Antarctica, which contains by far the continent's most ice - a vast sheet capable of almost 170 feet of potential sea-level rise - is also experiencing serious melting.

"As the Antarctic ice sheet continues to melt away, we expect multi-meter sea level rise from Antarctica in the coming centuries", said Eric Rignot, a professor at the University of California, Irvine in the US.

A new study shows Antarctica is melting more than six times faster than it did in the 1980s.

The PNAS study estimated that Antarctica lost 169 billion tonnes of ice from 1992-2017, above the 109 billion tonnes in the same period estimated past year by a large worldwide team of researchers.

The Antarctic ice sheets first grew 34 million years ago as Carbon dioxide levels dropped and the climate cooled.

For the study published in journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers conducted the longest-ever assessment of remaining Antarctic ice mass.

"It's extremely important to find out what is happening there", he told Reuters. This continues a trend of record low sea ice in the Antarctic over the past several years, reversing previous record highs that were frequently pointed to by climate change skeptics as a counter-argument to global warming.

The western edge of the famed iceberg A-68, calved from the Larsen C ice shelf, is seen from NASA's Operation IceBridge research aircraft, near the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula region, on October 31, 2017, above Antarctica.

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People are being urged to play their part in saving the Antarctic as a new study paints an alarming picture of the threat global warming poses to the frozen continent.

"What this study does is characterize the growth and decay of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and sheds light on what is forcing it to change", explains Meyers, a UW-Madison professor of geoscience and an expert on how climate responds to changes in solar radiation from Earth's astronomical motions. (A gigaton is 1 billion tons.) From 2009 to 2017, about 252 gigatons per year were lost. "This region is probably more sensitive to climate [change] that has traditionally been assumed, and that's important to know, because it holds even more ice than West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula together".

The biggest ice loser was the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is capable of driving nearly 5 meters (17 feet) of sea level rise.

The bottom line is that Antarctica is losing a lot of ice and that vulnerable areas exist across the East and West Antarctic, with few signs of slowing as oceans grow warmer.

In the short term, the warmer water simply results in more melt, more icebergs and modest sea level rise. But across the Transantarctic mountains to the east, there's a much larger mantle of ice that's generally thought to be keeping its chill.

Climate change isn't slowing down on Earth: Antarctica's ice melting rate has increased by 240 percent, prompting scientists to assess how greenhouse gases are negatively impacting the planet.

"Sea ice creates a barrier between the ocean and the ice", Levy said. Fast flowing inland ice streams of the West Antarctic are buttressed by floating ice shelves, which - if diminished or lost - raise the possibility of a runaway flow of West Antarctica's marine ice.

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