Antarctica’s ice sheet is melting 3 times faster than before
The melting of Antarctica is accelerating at an alarming rate, with about 3 trillion tons of ice disappearing since 1992, an international team of ice experts said in a new study.
In the last quarter century, the southern-most continent’s ice sheet — a key indicator of climate change — melted into enough water to cover Texas to a depth of nearly 13 feet, scientists calculated. All that water made global oceans rise about three-tenths of an inch.
From 1992 to 2011, Antarctica lost nearly 84 billion tons of ice a year. From 2012 to 2017, the melt rate increased to more than 241 billion tons a year, according to the study Wednesday in the journal Nature.
“I think we should be worried. That doesn’t mean we should be desperate,” said University of California Irvine’s Isabella Velicogna, one of 88 co-authors. “Things are happening. They are happening faster than we expected.”
Part of West Antarctica, where most of the melting occurred, “is in a state of collapse,” said coauthor Ian Joughin of the University of Washington.