Antarctica’s ice sheets hold sufficient water that can raise the sea levels by 190 feet (58 metres), but the overall comprehension to sea level rise has been a bit lesser, i.e. 7.6 millimetres between 1992 and 2017. It doesn’t appear to be that much as it’s half of the 325-milligram aspirin’s dose.
The rate of ice loss is growing at a very fast pace. Our planet’s largest ice sheet is losing around more than 240 billion tons of ice per year, which is a threefold increase in the ice loss from less than a decade ago. According to study projects, the cause of this melting is occurring so fast that it could cause a rise in sea levels by 6 inches by the end of the century.
A study published in the journal Nature, this Wednesday has been defined as the most exhaustive analysis till this time on the changes occurred in Antarctica’s ice sheet.
More than 80 scientists from 44 reputed international organizations have contributed to this research and they have collected data from multiple satellites, ground and air measurements, and computer simulations too.
This constant rise in sea levels could threaten coastal communities much earlier than expected by scientists. The most affected region could be North America, particularly the East Coast of the U.S.
It’s a conclusion conducted by 84 scientists from different 44 international organizations published in Nature. Before 2012, Antarctica’s ice loss ended up in a 0.2 mm sea level rise every year. However, since 2012, this rate has tripled to 0.6 mm a year. This is 3 mm of that 7.6 mm figure stated above reaching in the last five years alone.
Some scientists including Shepherd have relied on data collected from 24 satellite surveys, which determined the number of thickening or thinning of Antarctica’s ice sheets over time, the rate at which the glaciers were moving and Antarctica’s gravity measurements. According to NPR, the last measurement can be related to the overall mass of the ice sheets.
The whole continent has been responsible for this loss as different regions behave differently, said researchers. For example, West Antarctica ice sheet has gone through the biggest changes where ice losses have reached 159 billion tonnes a year from 53 billion tonnes in the 1990s. The Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers have contributed the maximum to this loss due to ocean melting.
Moreover, the East Antarctic ice sheet has kept a close margin to the state of balance over last 25 years, which gains an average ice of just 5 billion per year.