Antarctica is shedding ice at an accelerating rate
Antarctica is shedding ice at an accelerating rate
Antarctica is now melting three times faster than ever before
17 June, 2018, 10:40
The melting is happening so fast that it could cause sea levels to rise 6 inches by the end of the century, the study projects.
Researchers from a USA university said that the major reason for the ice melting is due to warm conditions in the ocean near West Antarctica sufficient to melt the Antarctica ice and the same case is happening in Greenland too in the Northern Hemisphere.
Csatho noted that comparing the first and last five year periods in the record reveals an even steeper acceleration.
A study published in science journal Nature said Antarctica was now shedding on average 219 billion tonnes of ice per year.
Researchers believe the rising peaks of the mountains beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet provided a "buttressing" effect. Surface water melting on top of the ice shelves then pours into these cracks, accelerating the problem further.
Ice loss of 2.7 trillion tonnes since 1992 added about eight millimetres to sea level.
Between 60 and 90 per cent of the world's fresh water is frozen in the ice sheets of Antarctica, a continent roughly the size of the U.S. and Mexico combined. A single East Antarctic glacier, Totten, has the potential to unleash as much total sea level rise as the entire West Antarctic ice sheet, or more.
Melting of Antarctica is speeding up, worrying scientists
"The continent is causing sea levels to rise faster today than at any time in the past 25 years". Since 1992, it lost 3 trillion tons of ice, losing some of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and Antarctic Peninsula.
Forces "that are driving these changes are not going to get any better in a warming climate," said University of Colorado ice scientist Waleed Abdalati, a former NASA chief scientist who wasn't part of the study team.
At the northern tip of the continent, ice-shelf collapse at the Antarctic Peninsula has driven an increase of 27.6 billion tons (25 billion metric tons) in ice loss per year since the early 2000s. "Greenhouse gas emissions must start decreasing in the coming decade to have a realistic prospect of following the low emissions narrative and so avoid global impacts associated with change in Antarctica, such as substantial sea level rise".
In 2017, that number had risen to 0.6mm per year. Australia's Antarctica Territory is on the eastern side of the continent. Sea ice typically forms a thin and highly-dynamic veneer up to a few metres thick that covers between about 3 million square kilometres (in winter) to 19-20 million square kilometres (in summer) of the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica.
The scenario which plays out largely depends on choices made over the next decade, on both climate-change and on environmental regulation, they conclude. "But remember for the northern hemisphere, for North America, the fact that the location in West Antarctica is where the action is amplifies that rate of sea level rise by up to an about additional 25 percent in a city like Boston or NY".
Nevertheless, it is a grim warning that climate change is beginning to occur more so than ever, and we're approaching a time where we won't be able to turn back unless we drastically change the way we think about the environment.
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