Ice is melting faster in the Antarctic than scientists had predicted. Indeed, the ice sheet is melting an a rapidly increasing rate, and has tripled in just the past ten years. This ice melt has poured more than 200 billion tons of ice into the ocean each year. It also has raised sea levels half a millimeter each year.
These are the basic findings of a new study by a team of 80 Antarctic experts from 14 countries, as reported in The Washington Post. The scientists are worried about rising sea levels in low-lying cities and communities if the rate of melting ice continues at the current pace.
The scientists studied 24 measurements of Antarctic ice, and found that the rate of melting ice started to accelerate in 2002, and increased in every five-year period. In fact, the Antarctic, the largest ice sheet in the planet, lost 219 billion tons of ice each year from 2012 to 2017.
Much of the melting ice comes from the West Antarctic, where the ice is melted from below by relatively warm ocean water. Two major glaciers there have developed deep crevasses, which can lead to ice shelves cracking and breaking off into large pieces.
A study two years ago found that the sea level could rise more than three feet in 50 years if the polar ice sheet loss doubled every ten years. This new, larger study found it has tripled in that time. Read more: