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Antarctica's ice sheet is melting 3 times faster than before
16 June 2018, 11:03 | Justin Tyler
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"Thanks to the satellites our space agencies have launched, we can now track their ice losses and global sea level contribution with confidence".
"The future we choose could determine when we need to rebuild airports, cities and infrastructure so that we can become resilient to such changes", she said. Here, ice shelves are being eaten by warm ocean water with some parts appearing as much as 18 percent thinner than 25 years ago. And they found that it's melting faster than they thought.
The study is the product of a large group of Antarctic experts who collectively reviewed 24 recent measurements of Antarctic ice loss, reconciling their differences to produce the most definitive figures yet on changes in Antarctica.
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.
Their account elucidates how ice shelf thinning and subsidizing have catapulted in the expansion in continent's benefaction to rise in sea level.
That said, it is worth noting the researchers have cautioned the processes that helped the ice sheet recover back in the day might not work in the present-day scenario of rapid melting due to human activity.
Rising sea levels could be accelerated by vulnerable ice shelves in the Antarctic, a study has found.
Some 90 research scientists discovered that in the five year period beginning in 2012, Antarctica lost 219 billion tonnes of ice per year.
Researchers say floating ice-shelf loss has triggered the faster loss of West Antarctic ice.
One of those studies, co-authored by physical oceanographer and climate scientist Steve Rintoul at Australia's CSIRO contemplates a grim choose-your-own-adventure style environmental dilemma - contrasting what Antarctica is projected to look like in the year 2070 if today's high greenhouse emissions remain unchanged, versus the preferable trajectory if climate action reins in carbon pollution. Altogether, 34,000 square kilometers (more than 13,000 square miles) of ice shelf area has been lost since the 1950s.
"We're watching these reports closely", said Michiel van den Broeke, professor of Polar Meteorology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, saying they were the guide for defending the Dutch coast.
The researchers concluded that the changes in East Antarctica were not almost enough to make up for the rapid loss seen in West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula.
To analyze the ice, the researchers use three different kinds of measurements.
The rate of Antarctic ice melt has tripled since 2012, according to a new study.
The ice sheets of Antarctica hold enough water to raise global sea level by 58 metres and knowing how much ice it is losing is key to understanding the impacts of climate change today and in the future, according to the assessment.
Between 60 and 90 percent of the world's fresh water is located in Antarctica - the size of Mexico and the United States combined - and if that were to all melt, sea levels would shoot up by nearly 61 metres, which would prove catastrophic for billions of people around the world.
At the Antarctic Peninsula, where air temperatures have risen sharply, ice shelves have collapsed as their surfaces have melted.
"The detailed record shows an acceleration, starting around 2002, " said Beata Csatho, one of the study authors and a glaciologist at the State University of NY at Buffalo, in an e-mail.
"Sea ice acts as a protective buffer to ice shelves, by dampening destructive ocean swells before they reach the ice shelf edge", explained Dr Rob Massom, of the Australian Antarctic Division and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre.
"This study is more evidence that the warming effects of climate change are impacting our planet in ways that are often more risky than we perhaps had thought", said Dow.
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