Antarctica Is Dying Out Fast

The ice in Antarctica is melting six occasions quicker than it did merely 40 years in the past, a brand new research reviews. This aggressive acceleration of the ice loss is a clear indication of human-triggered climate change, the research authors stated. Lead writer Eric Rignot, an ice scientist on the University of California–Irvine, said the melting ice has induced world sea ranges to rise higher than half an inch since 1979.

Whereas that won’t sound like a lot, the quantity is alarming to local weather scientists, as it is a preview of issues to return: “That’s simply the tip of the iceberg, so to talk,” Rignot stated. “Because the Antarctic ice sheet continues to soften away, we count on multi-meter sea degree rise from Antarctica within the coming centuries.” On this century alone, a ten-foot rise is feasible, he stated.

(A reminder: This is not the floating sea ice around Antarctica, which melts and refreezes with the seasons. As a substitute, that is freshwater ice on the massive ice sheets that cowl many of the continents.) Since 2009, nearly 278 billion tons of ice has melted away from Antarctica per yr, the brand new research discovered. Within the 1980s, it was dropping “solely” 44 billion tons 12 months.

Scientists mixed satellite knowledge information with pc mannequin outputs to estimate the Antarctic ice loss since 1979. East Antarctica, which was thought of steady, is shedding 56 billion tons of ice a yr. Research last year discovered little to no loss in East Antarctica. Richard Alley, a Pennsylvania State University scientist, not concerned in Rignot’s examine, known as it “actually good science.”

Rignot stated that as climate warming and ozone depletion proceed to ship extra ocean warmth towards the Antarctic, the continent’s melting ice will contribute to sea-degree rise for “many years to return.” The answer to halting the melting isn’t surprising: Cease the burning of fossil fuels, that are releasing greenhouse gases into the Earth’s ambiance and oceans. The research was printed Monday within the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.