Satellite analysis by NASA shows Antarctica’s coastal glaciers are shedding ice more rapidly than nature can replenish, doubling previous estimates of losses.
Antarctica losing ice faster than thought
Antarctica’s coastal glaciers are shedding icebergs more rapidly than nature can replenish the crumbling ice, doubling previous estimates of losses from the world’s largest ice sheet over the past 25 years, a satellite analysis shows.
The first-of-its-kind study, led by researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles and published in the journal Nature, raises new concerns about how fast climate change is weakening Antarctica’s floating ice shelves and accelerating the rise of global sea levels.
The study’s key finding was that the net loss of Antarctic ice from coastal glacier chunks “calving” off into the ocean is nearly as great as the net amount of ice scientists already knew was being lost due to thinning caused by the melting of ice shelves from below by warming seas.
Taken together, thinning and calving have reduced the mass of Antarctica’s ice shelves by 12 trillion tonnes since 1997, double the previous estimate, the analysis concluded.