Melt rate of East Antarctic ice sheet accelerating


Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

East Antarctica’s ice started to melt faster from 2006, which could cause sea levels to rise sooner than anticipated, according to a study by scientists at the University of Texas.

In the study published in Nature’s Geoscience journal, scientists estimated that East Antarctica has been losing ice mass at an average rate of 5 to 109 gigatonnes per year from April 2002 to January 2009, but the rate speeded up from 2006.

The melt rate after 2006 could be even higher, the scientists said.

“The key result is that [we] appear to start seeing a large amount of ice loss in East Antarctica, mostly in the long coastal regions (in Wilkes Land and Victoria Land), since 2006,” Jianli Chen at the university’s centre for space research and one of the study’s authors, told Reuters.

“This, if confirmed, could indicate a state change of East Antarctica, which could pose a large impact on global sea levels in the future,” Chen said…

Climate change is turning Antarctica’s ice into the one of the biggest risks for coming centuries. Even slight melting could drive up sea levels and could affect world’s cities.

Over the several years I have been studying climate change Antarctic ice was thought to be less-affected than the Northern Pole. Now that means and methods have improved, we get to figure out the bad news is universal.

Terrific.

note: at post time, the direct link to the study – in the Reuters article – was broken.

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