An analysis of satellite images today shows that coastal glaciers in Antarctica are losing ice masses much faster than expected.
"There are new concerns about how quickly climate change is weakening Antarctica's floating ice shelves, accelerating global sea level rise beyond nature's ability to compensate for the collapsed ice," Reuters quoted the study, published in the journal Nature, as saying. This doubles previous estimates of losses in the largest ice sheet in the world over the past years.”
The analysis, led by researchers at a US Aeronautics and Space Administration lab, found that thinning ice sheets and breaking up of glaciers together have reduced the mass of Antarctica's ice shelves by 12 trillion tons since 1997, double the previous estimate.
Ice shelves, permanently floating layers of frozen fresh water attached to the ground, take thousands of years to form and become buttresses for glaciers that would otherwise slide easily into the ocean, causing sea levels to rise.