WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- New satellite information showed that the West Antarctic ice sheet is losing ice about five times faster than in the 1990s.
- The ice loss in West Antarctica is estimated to have caused a 5mm rise in sea level since 1992.
- The increasing sea temperature has caused the glaciers’ undersides to rapidly melt to the point that not even snowfall can even out the damage.
Satellites have captured new alarming information that proves Antarctica’s rapid ice loss.
Because of the rising temperature in the Southern Ocean, the rate of ice loss has shot up to five times faster as compared to the 1990s.
A few decades ago, the West Antarctic ice sheet appeared to be stable, but the new evidence proves otherwise – up to a quarter of it is now thinning.
Some areas have lost more than 328 feet of ice.
If the West Antarctic ice sheet were to completely melt, global sea levels would rise by about 16 feet – catastrophically drowning coastal cities across the world.
Based on scientists’ latest estimates of the rate of sea level rise, the current rate is now at the extreme end – and it is estimated to double every decade.
In a new study, scientists used satellite images and weather information to compare the sizes of ice sheets across the years from 1992 to 2017.
Andy Shepherd, the lead author of the study, remarked that the ice “thinning has spread inland progressively over the past 25 years – that is rapid in glaciological terms.”
Shepherd warned that some glaciers are already past the halfway point of melting. These include the Pine Island and Thwaites glacier basins.
The study can help researchers to locate the areas where sea levels will rise and ensure appropriate preparations.
According to Shepherd, the ice loss in West Antarctica has caused a 5mm rise in sea level since 1992.
He pointed out that new technology made it possible to more accurately determine the effect of climate change: “Before we had useful satellite measurements from space, most glaciologists thought the polar ice sheets were pretty isolated from climate change and didn’t change rapidly at all. Now we know that is not true.”
Because of the increasing sea temperature, the glaciers’ undersides are now rapidly melting that not even snowfall can even out the damage.
The research findings were first published on May 16, 2019, in the journal of Geophysical Research Letters.
Source: New York Post