Speed of melting ice sheets trebles
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.