Antarc­tica’s ice sheet is melt­ing 3 times faster than be­fore

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - OBITUARIES/NEWS -

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.

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