Latest studies indicate that Antarctic glaciers are melting five times faster than they were in the 90s. Satellite data reveals that the perimeter of the Antarctic is falling away at an alarming rate. The Southern Ocean is heating up, causing glaciers to fall into the sea. The ice on the West Antarctic was thought to be stable around 1992, but now almost 25 percent is beginning to thin. In the severest cases, over 100 meters of ice density has disappeared.
If the West Antarctic melted completely, the global sea level would rise around five meters, engulfing the cities on the coast-lines all over the world. The current rate of loss is increasing roughly 100 percent every 10 years. This was estimated to be a worst case scenario according to projections made several years ago.
“From a standing start in the 1990s, thinning has spread inland progressively over the past 25 years; that is rapid in glaciological terms,” this according to Leeds University’s, Professor Andy Shepherd. “The speed of drawing down ice from an ice sheet used to be spoken of in geological timescales, but that has now been replaced by people’s lifetimes.” He went on to say, “More than 50 percent of the Pine Island and Thwaites glacier basins have been affected by thinning in the past 25 years. We are past halfway and that is a worry.”
The East Antarctic
Investigations had already confirmed that ice was melting in West Antarctica, but new research has provided more accurate data on where it is taking place and how quickly. Ice fall used to balance out the loss the Antarctic was experiencing, but now glaciers are melting quicker than the snow is capable of restoring them. The East Antarctic was also considered as stable, but research conducted in December 2018 suggests that it too is beginning to melt. Shepherd stated,”Before we had useful satellite measurements from space, most glaciologists thought the polar ice sheets were pretty isolated from climate change and didn’t change rapidly at all.” – It’s now evident that this isn’t the case.