Antarctica Is Losing Six Times More Ice Than It Was Four Decades Ago

The amount of ice being jettisoned off the massive ice sheets blanketing Antarctica has increased dramatically over the last four decades. It is now losing six times more ice than it was in the 80s. With climate change likely to accelerate the melting, the implications for sea level rise could be considerable.

The conclusions come from a study using improved data sets, published this month in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study found that Antarctica went from losing about 40 billion tons of ice a year in the 1980s to 252 billion tons a year for the last decade.

Since 1979, the ice melt has raised sea levels by 14 millimeters. While West Antarctica, has seen the fastest melting, accounting for most of the ice loss, the research shows ice melt in East Antarctica has been underestimated.



Photo: “Massive Antarctic Iceberg Spotted on NASA IceBridge Flight” by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is licensed under CC BY 2.0