Antarctic SHOCK: Ice "disappears five times faster" than expected – Experts worry | Science | New


Scary ice losses are spreading rapidly in the interior of Antarctica, according to the latest satellite data analysis. The warming of the Southern Ocean is causing the Antarctic glaciers to melt faster and faster. And the ice is now losing five times faster than in the 90s.

The Western Antarctic ice cap was stable in 1992, but nearly a quarter of its extent is now thinning.

And more than 100 meters of ice were lost in the most affected places.

The annihilation of the West Antarctic icecap would cause sea level rise of about five meters, thus decimating coastal cities around the world.

Current losses are doubling every ten years, scientists said, and sea level rise is now at the extreme extreme of even the most recent estimates.

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The latest study compared 800 million satellite measurements of ice cap height from 1992 to 2017 with meteorological information.

This distinguishes short-term changes due to changes in snowfall from long-term changes due to climate.

Professor Andy Shepherd, of the University of Leeds, who led the study, said: "Since its inception in the 90's, the thinning has gradually spread to the 39 inland in the last 25 years, which is fast in glaciological terms.

"There was talk of the speed at which ice was removed from a layer of ice in the geological epoch, but that has now been replaced by people's lives."

Professor Shepherd added that the thinning of some ice currents had spread 300 miles inland over a length of 600 miles.

He said: "More than 50% of the Pine Island and Thwaites glacial basins have been affected by thinning over the past 25 years.

"We're over half the distance and it's worrying."

Researchers already knew that ice was disappearing from West Antarctica, but the new work indicates exactly where it is occurring and how fast.

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This will allow for more accurate projections of sea level rise and could help in the preparation of these elevations.

Recently, the snow that fell on the Antarctic glaciers has balanced the loss of ice due to the disappearance of icebergs in the ocean.

But now glaciers are flowing faster than snow can replenish them.

Professor Shepherd added: "In parts of Antarctica, the ice sheet has thinned in an extraordinary way."

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