Saturday, 28 March 2015

Antarctic ice shelves thinning quickly

Professor Helen Fricker and colleagues at  Scripps Institution of Oceanography have used two decades of data from European radar satellites to compile an assessment of Antarctica's floating ice shelves. Ice shelf
In the first decade, the total losses from the ice shelves averaged 25 cubic km per year.
But during the second decade, this had jumped to 310 cubic km per year.
"For before 2003, ice-shelf volume for all Antarctica did not change much," said Fernando Paolo, one of the team.
"Since then, volume loss has been significant. The western ice shelves have been persistently thinning for two decades, and earlier gains in the eastern ice shelves ceased in the most recent decade," he told BBC News.
In the Amundsen and Bellingshausen regions, some ice shelves have lost up to 18% of their thickness in less than two decades.
“The ice shelves buttress the flow from grounded ice into the ocean, and that flow impacts sea-level rise, so that’s a key concern from our new study,” said Professor Fricker.

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