Antarctica is losing ice 6 times faster today than in 1980s

Rodiano Bonacci
Gennaio 15, 2019

Scientists are urging for a reduction in emissions after a new study found the tilt of the Earth could exacerbate the melting of the Antarctic ice sheets.

The Nansen ice shelf.

Study lead author Eric Rignot says it is worrisome that ice melting is in East Antarctica, which used to be stable.

Antarctica's annual ice losses have accelerated six-fold in the past 40 years in a trend that could push sea levels metres higher in coming centuries amid man-made global warming, scientists said on Monday.

Millions of people living in coastal cities around the world could be threatened with flooding as the pace of melting is expected to lead to disastrous sea level rise in the years to come, a study has claimed.

Researchers discovered that from 1979 to 1990, Antarctica shed an average of 40 billion tons of ice mass annually.

Since 2009, Antarctica has lost nearly 278 billion tons (252 billion metric tons) of ice per year, the new study finds.

At that time, carbon levels were around 400 parts per million (ppm) - low enough for sea ice to emerge.

The ice sheet is buffered by these warmer waters by sea-ice but as emissions continue to rise, that sea-ice is slowly disappearing, making the ice sheet more vulnerable to melting, Mr Levy said.

Increasing carbon emissions could propel us into a world that hasn't existed for millions of years, and put the existence of the Antarctic ice sheet under threat. They found the ice loss to be accelerating dramatically - a key indicator of human-caused climate change.

A landmark study published in Nature in June previous year found that Antarctic ice melt had tripled since 1992, but did not show significant melting in the east.

"As the Antarctic ice sheet continues to melt away, we expect multi-metre sea level rise from Antarctica in the coming centuries" with continued man-made global warming, he wrote in a statement.

Recent research has shown that oceans are heating up faster than previously thought, setting new heat records in the last few years.

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