Antarctica ice melting twice as fast as in 2012, study finds

The melting could contribute to six inches (15 centimeters) to sea level rise by the year 2100. (Representational image: Reuters)

A new study has found that between sixty and ninety percent of the water is frozen in the huge ice sheets of Antarctica, but its melting pace is increasing rapidly, a phenomenon that could raise the world’s sea levels alarmingly.

The melting rate at which Antarctica is losing its ice cover has more than doubled since 2012, according to the latest study published in the journal Nature. The melting could contribute to six inches (15 centimeters) to sea level rise by the year 2100.

Reportedly, this level is at the upper end of what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated Antarctica alone could contribute to sea level rise this century.

Notably, between 1992 and 2017, Antarctica lost three trillion tons of ice. This level has lead to an increase in sea levels by three-tenths of an inch, but the concern is that forty percent of that increase actually came from the last five years of the period of study (2012-2017).

Earlier in December 2017, another report in Nature stated that the Eastern Antarctica ice sheet, which is one of the two large ice sheets in Antarctica and the largest on the entire planet, may contribute substantially to global sea level rise, the study found. The Eastern Antarctica ice sheet, with more than twelve thousands feet thick ice in many places, was thought to be among the most stable, not gaining or losing mass even as ice sheets in West Antarctica and Greenland were shrinking.

That study also said that the team deployed marine seismic technology from the back of an icebreaker near Antarctica’s Sabrina Coast. The equipment captured images of the seafloor, including geological formations created by the ice sheet, allowing scientists to reconstruct how glaciers in the area have advanced and retreated over the past fifty million years.

The findings showed that the ice sheet had a long history of expanding and shrinking. The study, based on the first-ever oceanographic survey of East Antarctica’s Sabrina Coast – revealed that the glaciers in the region might be particularly susceptible to climate change, the Indian Express reported.

Meanwhile, in the Paris Agreement, 195 member states of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to limit the rise in global average temperature to significantly below two degrees Celsius.

Source: Financial Express