Antarctica's Melting Is Speeding Up

GETTYThe Ice Continent has lost 3trillion tonnes of ice in 25 years

GETTYThe Ice Continent has lost 3trillion tonnes of ice in 25 years

An worldwide team of polar scientists found that melting in Antarctica has jumped sharply from an average of 76 billion tonnes per year prior to 2012, to around 219 billion tonnes each year between 2012 and 2017.

The Post also points out that East Antarctica lost around 28 billion tons of ice annually during the last five years.

The amount of ice lost is nearly three times more than in the 2002-2007 period, the report said.

"Since around 2010, 2012, we can see that there's been a sharp increase in the rate of ice loss from Antarctica".

The global research team analyzed 24 satellite-based estimates of Antarctic ice sheet mass to calculate these rates.

Scientists have acknowledged that these sad results surpassed their expectations.

'I think we should be anxious.

"We can not count on East Antarctica to be the quiet player, and we start to observe change there in some sectors that have potential, and they're vulnerable", co-author Isabella Velicogna, a researcher from University of California, told told the Post.

Per the team's calculations, a high emissions scenario - in which carbon emissions rise unabated and environmental protections in Antarctica are not implemented - global air temperature would rise almost 3.5°C above 1850 levels by 2070, with sea level rise averaging somewhere between 10-15 mm every year.

"What we have seen as the climate has warmed is that more warm water is reaching the Antarctic ice sheet and that's what is melting the sea ice", he said.

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Worryingly, the paper demonstrates that the rate of ice loss has tripled in recent times.

West Antarctica is now bearing the brunt of this loss, as its glacial ice shelves have been melted from below by warming deep ocean water. And that ice is melting out at a quickening pace, showing that we're quickly driving the climate over the guard rails that have allowed humanity to flourish.

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. Sea level rise is a threat to cities from NY to Shanghai as well as low-lying nations from the Pacific Ocean to the Netherlands.

However, the role of sea ice in buffering ice shelves and continental ice sheets is rarely factored into Antarctic ice-loss modelling, according to lead researcher Dr Rob Massom from the Australian Antarctic Institute.

Previous research has shown Greenland-the planet's other major store of ice-lost a trillion tonnes of ice between 2011-2014.

Twila Moon, a research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center who wasn't part of the studies, said "ice-speaking, the situation is dire".

However, he said that there is growing evidence that projections of Antarctica's influence on sea-level rise may have been underestimated.

This new knowledge will help us better predict sea level rise in the future. "This has to be a concern for the governments we trust to protect our coastal cities and communities", said Shephard.

"We appear to be on a pathway to substantial ice-sheet loss in the decades ahead, with longer term consequences for enhanced sea level rise". Total ice loss during the 25-year period contributed to sea level rise of about 0.3 inches (around 8 millimeters), approximately 40 percent of which - about 0.1 inches (3 mm) - happened in the past five years.

Even more grim, a half-century of high emissions by this point would have locked in more than 10 metres (33 ft) of future sea level rise in coming millennia - and could potentially lead to more than 50 metres of sea level rise over the next 10,000 years.

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