Antarctic ice melt speeds up, warmer seas blamed


New research drawn from satellite images reveals a sobering truth: Ice loss in the Antarctic is accelerating as melting glaciers speed their way into the ocean’s warming waters.

From BBC News:

The scale and pace of change now taking place in West Antarctica is captured in a new, long-term satellite record.

Scientists have combined nearly a quarter of a century of observations to show how the region’s great glaciers are losing height by up to 7m per year.

The satellite data also traces the way this thinning behaviour has spread up the length of the ice streams. The glaciers concerned all terminate in the Amundsen Sea and are significant contributors to global ocean rise.

Their names are Pine Island, Thwaites, Pope, Smith, and Kohler.

Right now, they are dumping some 120 to 140 billion tonnes of ice a year into the ocean, which is sufficient to push up global waters by between 0.34mm and 0.40mm per annum – more than 10% of the total worldwide trend.

The research has just been published online [access to a printable copy, $38] in Geophysical Research Letters.

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