In 25 years, West Antarctica tripled its rate of ice loss

Hamish Pritchard summer clouds swirl around the Staccato Peaks of Alexander Island off the Antarctic Peninsula. In a study released Wednesday

Antarctica is now melting three times faster than ever before

As the ice sheet loses ice, its gravitational pull is reduced, so the local sea level near Antarctica is diminished.

"The detailed record shows an acceleration, starting around 2002", said Beata Csatho, one of the study authors and a glaciologist at the State University of NY at Buffalo, in an email.

Increased ocean acidity is a global problem due to the increased amount of carbon dioxide from pollution that also hurts animals that live in waters. Between 2012 and 2017 the continent lost 219 billion tonnes of ice per year - a 0.6 mm per year sea level contribution.

This study comes just two years after a separate one in which scientists (Velicogna included) warned that within 50 years, the sea level could rise by more than three feet and cause irreversible damage.

Between 1992 and 2017, Antarctica shed 3 trillion tonnes of ice.

"There are about 150 different estimates of ice loss from Antarctica and Greenland and they use different methods, they cover different proportions of the ice sheets and they cover different time periods", Shepherd said. -German GRACE satellites. Future data from spacecraft such as ICESat-2, GRACE-FO and NISAR should provide an even more detailed picture of global ice loss and sea level rise.

At the northern tip of the continent, ice-shelf collapse at the Antarctic Peninsula has driven an increase of 27.6 billion tons (25 billion metric tons) in ice loss per year since the early 2000s.

The findings were published today in the journal Nature. Globally sea levels are rising by about 3mm a year.

The region's largest glaciers, Pine Island and Thwaites - which is considered the most unsafe glacier in the world and will be studied intensively over the next three years, the Inquisitr reported in April - "hold the unwelcome distinction of having the world's highest annual levels of glacier loss", notes the Smithsonian Magazine.

West Antarctica, however, has proven far more vulnerable to global warming, especially the Antarctic Peninsula, where more than 6,500 sq km of ice shelves have sheared off into the sea since 1995.

West Antarctica consists of frozen islands while the major part of East Antarctica could not be approached and also stable as it is plated on land mass unlike West Antarctica influenced largely by changing ocean temperature.

Scientists have already identified the cause of this rapid loss of ice. Ice, thick enough in many places to bury mountains, covers a continent roughly the size of the USA and Mexico combined. "But remember for the northern hemisphere, for North America, the fact that the location in West Antarctica is where the action is amplifies that rate of sea level rise by up to an about additional 25 percent in a city like Boston or NY".

As lead author Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom told the New York Times, this six-inch rise in the world's sea levels would translate into a dramatic increase of floods in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

"What these narratives show us is that reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the Paris climate agreement, and implementing effective policy can still minimise change in the Antarctic environment and the rest of planet".

"The kinds of changes that we see today, if they were not to increase much more. then maybe we're talking about something that is manageable for coastal stakeholders", Rob DeConto, a researcher not involved in the study, told The Washington Post.

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