Jul 27

Ice loss in Antarctica is increasingly contributing to global sea level rise

Loss of ice in Antarctica has caused global sea levels to rise by 7.6 millimeters since 1992, with 40 percent of the increase happening in just the past five years, according to a team of 84 scientists, including discipline-leading experts from the University of California, Irvine.

Their assessment of conditions in Antarctica is based on combined data from 24 satellite surveys and updates 2012 findings. Results from the project – known as the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-Comparison Exercise – were published today in Nature.

They show that prior to 2012, Antarctica lost ice at a steady rate of 76 billion tons annually – a 0.2 mm-per-year contribution to sea level rise. But since then, there has been a sharp, threefold increase. Between 2012 and 2017, the continent lost 219 billion tons of ice annually – a 0.6 mm-per-year sea level contribution.

“Gravity measurements from the GRACE [Gravity Recovery & Climate Experiment] mission help us track the loss of ice mass in the polar regions and impacts on sea level at points around the planet,” said co-author Isabella Velicogna, UCI professor of Earth system science. “The data from GRACE’s twin satellites show us not only that a problem exists, but that it is growing in severity with each passing year.”

GRACE is a joint mission of NASA and the German Aerospace Center.
Read more from the original article by UCI