Ice loss is accelerating and that’s helped raise the global sea level by about 8 millimeters
A. Shepherd/University of Leeds
Antarctica is losing ice at an increasingly rapid pace. In just the last five years, the frozen continent has shed ice nearly three times faster on average than it did over the previous 20 years.
An international team of scientists has combined data from two dozen satellite surveys in the most comprehensive assessment of Antarctica’s ice sheet mass yet. The conclusion: The frozen continent lost an estimated 2,720 billion metric tons of ice from 1992 to 2017, and much of that loss occurred in recent years, particularly in West Antarctica. Before 2012, the continent shed ice at a rate of 76 billion tons each year on average, but from 2012 to 2017, the rate increased to 219 billion tons annually.
Combined, all that water raised the global sea level by an average of 7.6 millimeters, the researchers report in the June 14 Nature. About two-fifths of that rise occurred in the last five years