Antarctic ice melting more quickly than anticipated. A satellite study on Wednesday revealed that the world’s greatest ice sheet has lost twice as much ice over the past 25 years. As previously thought because the coastal glaciers in Antarctica are losing icebergs far more quickly than the environment can restore the melting ice.
New concerns have been raised about how quickly climate change has been weakening Antarctica’s floating and land ice shelves and hastening the rise of the world’s sea levels thanks to a groundbreaking study conducted by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles and published in the scientific journal Nature.
The main conclusion of the study was that the net loss of Antarctic ice from chunks of coastal glaciers “calving” off into the ocean is almost as great as the net loss of ice. This scientists already knew was occurring due to thinning brought on by the melting of ice shelves from below by warming seas.
INVESTIGATION ON ICE MELTING OF ANTARCTIC ICE
The investigation found that thinning and calving, when combined, have decreased the bulk of Antarctica’s ice shelves by 12 trillion tonnes. Since 1997, which is double the prior estimate.
According to JPL scientist Chad Greene, the study’s principal author, the continent’s ice sheet has lost approximately 37,000 square kilometres of surface in the previous 25 years due to calving alone. It is nearly the area of almost the size of Switzerland.
In a NASA press release announcing the findings, Greene stated that “Antarctica is collapsing at its edges.”
And the continent’s enormous glaciers tend to accelerate and enhance the rate of the rise in the ocean’s surface. As ice shelves weaken and shrink.
There may be severe repercussions. He emphasised that 88 percent of the world’s potential ice mass is in Antarctica.
It takes thousands of years for ice shelves, which are permanently floating sheets of frozen freshwater tied to land, to develop. Once formed, they function as buttresses to hold back glaciers. If not then that would otherwise readily slip into the ocean, raising sea levels.
The long-term natural cycle of calving and regrowth regulates the extent of ice shelves when they are stable.
However, in recent decades, warmer waters have damaged the shelves from below. A phenomena that researchers have previously observed using satellite altimeters to measure the shifting height of the ice. According to NASA, losses from 2002 to 2020 averaged 149 million tonnes per year.
MORE INFORORMATION ON ANTARCTICA ICE MELT
Over 30,000 miles (50,000 kilometres) of Antarctic coastline, Greene’s team’s research used satellite photos from visible, thermal-infrared, and radar wavelengths. To more precisely record glacier movement and calving since 1997.
Researchers concluded that it is doubtful Antarctica would reach the glacier levels of before 2000 by the end of this century. Since the losses from calving surpassed natural ice shelf replacement by a significant margin.
West Antarctica, which is a region more severely affected by rising ocean currents, had the most apparent acceleration of glacier calving, as well as ice thinning.
Greene said that even in East Antarctica, where the ice shelves were formerly thought to be less fragile, “we’re witnessing more losses than gains.”
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