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Global climate change

Sharp increase in ice loss from Antarctica over the past decade

By Brett Anderson, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
6/14/2018, 12:59:22 PM

Using satellite imagery, a large group of international scientists recently finished the most complete assessment of Antarctic ice sheet change to date.

The research team found that the Antarctic continent lost 219 billion tons of ice per year from 2012 to 2017, which contributed an annual 0.6 mm rise in global sea level.

Prior to 2012, Antarctica was losing an average of 76 billion tons per year, which contributed to an annual 0.2 mm rise of sea level.

Video courtesy the University of Leeds and YouTube.

The large increase in ice loss from the Antarctic continent as a whole is a combination of glacier speed up in West Antarctica and the Antarctic peninsula and reduced growth of the ice sheet in East Antarctica, according to the University of Leeds report.

West Antarctic Glacier.

West Antarctica experienced the largest acceleration of ice loss mainly due to the rapid retreat of the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers due to ocean melting.


This study was recently published in the journal Nature.

The assessment was led by Professor Andrew Shepherd at the University of Leeds and Dr Erik Ivins at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. The research was supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

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Global climate change