Antarctic Ice Loss Surges by 75 Percent
New research indicates annual loss from the Antarctic ice sheet has surged [ark | moreark] by 75 percent in a decade as a result of global warming. The study by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory [ark] appears in the Journal “Nature Geoscience” and is described as the most comprehensive to date on the status of Antarctic ice sheets. Using extensive measurements by radar they found in 2006 some 192 billion tonnes of Antarctic ice was lost [search] into the sea from narrow glacier outlets.
While there has been little scientific doubt that Greenland's ice is melting [search], there has been more uncertainty over the fate of the larger stores of ice on Antarctica. Until now there has been no consensus whether ice cover is growing, shrinking, or stable — and various studies have had conflicting results. Some have suggested increased precipitation was leading to the accumulation of ice, a finding contradicted by this new study.
The shrinkage in the ice sheet was attributed to an upwelling of warm waters along the Antarctic coast, which is causing some glaciers to flow more rapidly into the ocean. The southern continent contains enough ice to raise ocean levels by 60 meters which would put every major coastal city in the world under water and make hundreds of millions of climate change refugees. The majority, 132 tonnes, was lost from the West Antarctic sheet, while the Antarctic Peninsula lost about 60 million tonnes. Yet there was a “near-zero” loss from the world's biggest ice sheet found in East Antarctica.