Antarctic ice melting faster
Antarctica’s ice sheets are melting three times faster than they were just a decade ago, according to a major new study, and the resulting sea-level rise could have devastating consequences for coastal cities around the world. A team of 84 scientists from 44 international organizations assessed the ice loss with a range of techniques, including satellite surveys, computer simulations, and measurements taken on the ground. They found that Antarctica shed about 3 trillion tons of ice from 1992 to 2017, causing an increase in global sea levels of roughly three-tenths of an inch. That might not seem like a lot, but 40 percent of that increase came in the last five years alone. Most of the ice loss is occurring in West Antarctica, where warming ocean waters are melting the ice sheet from below. The continent’s ice sheets are now disappearing so quickly that they could add 6 inches to global sea-level rise by 2100. And Antarctica isn’t the only contributor to rising oceans—Greenland also lost an estimated 1 trillion tons of ice from 2011 to 2014. “This has to be a cause for concern for the governments we trust to protect our coastal cities and communities,” study lead author Andrew Shepherd tells The Guardian (U.K.).