Science

Antarctic ice loss triples, boosting sea levels

Antarctic ice loss triples, boosting sea levels

"We depend upon the satellite measurements to not only tell us how the ice sheets respond but also to make these calculations to sea-level contribution", Shepherd said. The team also found fractures associated with channels underneath ice shelves in almost every major outlet of Antarctic ice to the ocean as well as on Greenland's largest ice shelf in the Arctic.

"The future we choose could determine when we need to rebuild airports, cities and infrastructure so that we can become resilient to such changes", she said. "If we do not, they will change dramatically, and through their connections to the rest of the Earth System, result in global impacts with irreversible consequences". Based on data gathered for the period between 1992 and 2011, Antarctica was heading towards the lower range of IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) projections, which pointed to a global sea level rise of a just few centimeters by 2100. A team of 84 scientists from 44 global organisations have amalgamated 24 satellite surveys of change in the farthest south with greater precision that any other study so far.

West Antarctica experienced the most acceleration in ice loss among regions studied during the research period, growing from 53 billion tons a year in the 1990s to 159 billion tons annually in the final five years. And that ice is melting out at a quickening pace, showing that we're quickly driving the climate over the guard rails that have allowed humanity to flourish.

The most complete analysis to date measuring ice sheet changes in Antarctica reveals Earth's southernmost continent has lost some 3 trillion tonnes of ice over the past quarter-century.

"The increasing mass loss that they're finding is really worrying, particularly looking at the West Antarctic, the area that's changing most rapidly, and it's the area that we're most anxious about, because it's below sea level, " said Christine Dow, a glaciologist at the University of Waterloo in Canada who was not involved in the research.

Scientists have long known that the effects of global warming are amplified in Antarctica, causing changes that can be felt around the world.

There have been many other estimates of how much ice has melted in Antarctica.

"I don't know if it's going to keep exactly tripling, but I think it has a lot of potential to keep significantly increasing", said Velicogna.




- Glaciers flowing down the ice sheet spread under their own weight as they flow toward the ocean and eventually lose contact with the bedrock, forming about 300 floating ice shelves that fringe the continent.

While the current ice loss measured is literally a drop in the ocean compared to Antartica's catastrophic potential to raise global sea level by as much as 58 metres (190 ft) if the ice sheets were to completely melt, the apparent acceleration in the latest satellite observations is enough to have scientists duly anxious.

The research team measured isotopes produced by the interaction between cosmic rays and the nucleus of an atom, called cosmogenic nuclides, in glacial sediment from Antarctic's largest ice shelf.

Scherer and a team of researchers from Columbia University and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany worked separately to delve into the history of Antarctica, but surprisingly, they all came to the same conclusion. Its fall back like in this case, means melting ice sheets and sea level increase.

Chris Rapley, a professor of climate science at University College London who was not involved in the study, wrote in a comment that he had suggested in 2005 that a "slumbering giant (of ice in Antarctica) seemed to be awakening". Ice shelf collapse in the Antarctic Peninsula is another major contributor, whereas less certain estimates of East Antarctica's mass change suggest the region may have gained a negligible amount of ice.

These cores contain geological records, but also chemical signatures - in particular, the rare isotopes beryllium-10 and aluminum-26, which were extracted at the NSF-funded Community Cosmogenic Facility at the University of Vermont and measured using particle accelerators at Purdue University and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

"The datasets from IMBIE are extremely valuable for the ice sheet modeling community", said study co-author Sophie Nowicki of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.


  • New Microsoft Surface Pro coming next year, budget model later this year

    New Microsoft Surface Pro coming next year, budget model later this year

    Some rumours suggest that it will be a pocketable device nearly like a foldable tablet with two screens separated by a hinge. The company may soon launch Surface Pro 6 as the successor to Surface Pro 5 , along with a foldable device called Andromeda.

    Pakistan's most wanted terrorist killed in air-strike in Afghanistan

    He is also believed to have ordered the 2012 shooting of then-15-year-old Malala Yousafzai over her advocacy of girls' education . The Pakistani Taliban is a separate group to the Afghan Taliban, which the USA has been battling since 2001 in Afghanistan.
    Kyrie Irving: 'We'll See What Management Decides' on LeBron James

    Kyrie Irving: 'We'll See What Management Decides' on LeBron James

    And who could blame him for that? But before the postseason began, Irving would be shut down indefinitely due to his knee issues. So you don't really try to control that narrative. "The focus is exclusively on winning a championship next year".
  • OnePlus 6 crosses 1 million units globally, company launches 'Community Celebration Season'

    OnePlus 6 crosses 1 million units globally, company launches 'Community Celebration Season'

    Though not truly wireless as Apple AirPods, the neckband style Bluetooth earphones come loaded with impressive features. OnePlus 6 has crossed one million sales globally within 22 days of launch , the company said in a press statement.
    Infant protoplanets discovered in constellation of Sagittarius by ALMA

    Infant protoplanets discovered in constellation of Sagittarius by ALMA

    One astronomical unit is equivalent to the distance between the sun and the Earth or around 150 million kilometers. The astronomers reported their results and analysis in a pair of papers in the Astrophysical Journal Letters .
    Kawhi Leonard to Spurs: I want to be traded

    Kawhi Leonard to Spurs: I want to be traded

    However, what happens in free agency is yet to be decided, and just landing Leonard would huge for the Lakers and their fans. ESPN and Yahoo both reported Leonard's desire to move on from San Antonio on Friday, citing league sources.
  • Crude Oil Investors Back Off Brent, Pick Up WTI

    Crude Oil Investors Back Off Brent, Pick Up WTI

    West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $66.61 a barrel, down 3 cents from their last settlement. OPEC reported in its monthly oil market report Tuesday, that Saudi Arabia has already increased production.
    Portugal boss Fernando Santos hails

    Portugal boss Fernando Santos hails "incredible" Cristiano Ronaldo

    The hat trick was his first ever at the World Cup and matched his goal production in his first 13 games over three World Cups . Ronaldo had only scored three goals in total in his last three World Cups , so managed to double his tally in one night here.
    Late Own-Goal Gifts Iran 1-0 Win Over Morocco

    Late Own-Goal Gifts Iran 1-0 Win Over Morocco

    They should come out and apologise because this arrogant conduct against 23 boys is absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary. Iran's coach, Carlos Queiroz , was critical of Nike's decision, and has demanded an apology for his team.
  • Volkswagen fined €1b by German prosecutors over emissions cheating

    Volkswagen fined €1b by German prosecutors over emissions cheating

    These are the current CEO, Herbert Diess, supervisory board chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch and former CEO Martin Winterkorn. The company said after a thorough examination, Volkswagen AG accepted the fine and will not lodge an appeal against it.
    Pakistani Taliban Chief Targeted, Possibly Killed, In U.S. Drone Strike

    Pakistani Taliban Chief Targeted, Possibly Killed, In U.S. Drone Strike

    He first rose to prominence inside Pakistan's Swat valley with fiery radio tirades that earned him the nickname Mullah Radio. An Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman (Mohammad Radmanish) also confirmed to VOA that a USA drone strike killed Fazlullah.
    Facebook confirms it tracks everything about you. And, it's creepy

    Facebook confirms it tracks everything about you. And, it's creepy

    The company also says it is phasing out the data-sharing deals that it has struck with device makers dating back to 2007. Moreover, it is highly likely that the contact information of users was shared with device manufacturers.