A study has concluded that glaciers in Antarctica are melting more than six times faster than what it did in the 1980s. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed that Antarctic ice melting from 1979 to 2017 increased global sea levels by more than 1.4 centimetres. The study showed that areas which were relatively stable and were resistant to change are also dramatically losing ice. This is a key indicator of human-caused climate change.
Scientists took the help of satellite measurements, aerial photographs, and computer models in 176 individual basins to come to a conclusion.
Areas resisted to climate change are melting
A statement in the study mentioned that the mass loss by the glacier is happening in areas which are close to warm, salty, subsurface circumpolar deep water. These include East Antarctica which is reportedly one of the major contributors of rising sea levels over the entire period. “The same sectors are likely to dominate sea-level rise from Antarctica in decades to come as enhanced polar westerlies(a wind blowing from the west) push more circumpolar deep water toward the glaciers,” a statement in the study said. Previous reports have shown that East Antarctica resisted to climate change and the meltdown was only seen on the western side. However, ice sheet thawing (ice becoming liquid or soft as a result of warming up) at the East Antarctic ice sheet is causing the sea level to rise. It is estimated that the region is losing 56 billion tonnes of ice a year. The report that released on January 14, 2019, said that Antarctica lost 252 billion tonnes of ice every year throughout 2009-2017. The average figure for ice lost from 1979-1990 was considerably low, clocked at 40 billion tonnes.
Increase in Sea Level is threatening the coastal areas
The scientists have said that the meltdown of glaciers from Antarctica added more water which is equivalent to 13.2 millimetres of sea level over the past 40 years. Eric Rignot, the lead author of the study, said that thaw of East Antarctica’s glaciers is troubling as this will lead to an increase of more than 10 ft of sea level rise throughout next century. Numerous studies have shown that over the past century the global sea levels have increased by up to 8 inches. Coastal areas like Bangladesh, Florida, Shanghai and London are at risk.
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