Speed of melt­ing ice sheets tre­bles

Daily Mail - - News -

ANTARC­TIC ice sheets are melt­ing at tre­ble the rate seen just five years ago, sci­en­tists said yes­ter­day.

The phe­nom­e­non has un­til now played only a small part in the in­crease in sea lev­els – with most melt­ing ice com­ing from Green­land. This is be­cause Antarc­tica was in­su­lated from warmer wa­ter by its South­ern Ocean.

But sci­en­tists say that is no longer the case. ‘I was quite sur­prised in­deed to see a three-fold in­crease in the rate of ice loss from Antarc­tica,’ said An­drew Shep­herd, a pro­fes­sor at Leeds Univer­sity.

‘There has been a step in­crease in ice losses from Antarc­tica dur­ing the past decade, and the con­ti­nent is caus­ing sea lev­els to rise faster to­day than at any time in the past 25 years. This has to be a con­cern for the gov­ern­ments we trust to pro­tect our coastal cities and com­mu­ni­ties.’

Re­searchers used mea­sure­ments made by satel­lites to discover that three tril­lion tons of ice have melted from Antarc­tica in the past 25 years. In West Antarc­tica the amount lost has risen from 53bil­lion tons a year pre-2012 to 159bil­lion tons a year now. The re­search ap­pears in the Jour­nal Na­ture.

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