“The atmosphere in this region has warmed by about 3C since 1980,” Dr Jenny Turton, a polar researcher at Friedrich-Alexander University in Germany, told BBC News. Denmark. It covers an area of almost 14 million square kilometres (5.4 million square miles) and contains 26.5 million cubic kilometres (6,400,000 cubic miles) of ice. "In West Antarctica, we're seeing a lot of glaciers thinning very rapidly," Smith said. Antarctica Melted in the Past, and As the Climate Warms, It’s Poised to Melt Again. Since 1992, annual ice loss from the Antarctic Peninsula has more than doubled, and it’s tripled in West Antarctica. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. The main ice covered landmass is Antarctica at the South Pole, with about 90 percent of the world's ice (and 70 percent of its fresh water). The new study, published in the journal Science, took a single type of measurement — height measured by an instrument that bounces laser pulses off the ice surface — to give the most accurate measure of ice sheet change to date. Not surprisingly, melting lasted longest (dark purple) on the Antarctic Peninsula, which stretches northward away from the continent. MELTING ice in Antarctica has revealed a new uncharted island as climate change continues to offer up surprises. All Rights Reserved. The country has seen a significant amount of coastal glacier thinning, with some glaciers losing up to 20 feet of elevation each year as hotter temperatures melt ice and warmer ocean temperatures erode the ice at their fronts, according to the study. Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and glaciers are grounded ice, so their melt contributes to sea level rise. Sea level rise will destroy coastal property values, displace people and eventually hit global markets unless serious measures to combat greenhouse gas emissions are taken across the world. Are you sure you want to delete this comment? Ice sheets break off in Western Antarctica, which is really more of a series of frozen islands, but altogether the rate of change has been more gradual in the forbidding and largely uninhabited South … “If this freshwater input causes a change in global ocean circulation – which some models have shown – then it could have consequences for the climate globally over a longer time scale.”. East Antarctica is much higher in elevation than West Antarctica. It found Antarctica as a whole went from losing about 40 gigatons of ice per year in the 1980s to 252 gigatons per year over the last decade. The team of scientists from the Universities of Leeds and Edinburgh, and Imperial College London, studied the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, glaciers across the world, and Arctic and Antarctic sea ice and ice shelves. Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about our products and services. “If that continues, which it’s expected to because emissions are continuing to rise, then all of this melt is going to continue to accelerate. Here it becomes part of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, flowing deep - a third of a mile (530m) - below a layer of much colder water. On Monday (Jan. 14), another group of researchers reported that the rate of Antarctic melt is already six times faster than it was just a few decades ago. "If you watch a glacier or ice sheet for a month, or a year, you're not going to learn much about what the climate is doing to it," said lead author Benjamin Smith, a glaciologist at the University of Washington. Terminus of the Russell Glacier. Known as East Antarctica, this section has an average altitude of about 2 kilometer (1.2 miles), higher than the American Colorado Plateau. The amount of sea ice around Antarctica has melted to a record low for January, scientists announced this week. The Antarctic ice sheet. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Within each main region of Antarctica (East, West and the Antarctic Peninsula), ice loss has been concentrated in certain sectors over the last 40 years, the new study finds. There have been many other estimates of how much ice has melted in Antarctica. "We now ... can be much more confident that the changes we're seeing in the ice have to do with the long-term changes in the climate.". In fact in most parts of the continent it never gets above freezing. "Some of … The Antarctic freezing trend has not been captured well by climate models. Put another way, more than 5,000 gigatons of ice has melted (a gigaton equals one billion metric tons or enough to fill 400,000 Olympic-sized swimming … By Erik Conway Historian, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica is … However she said they were alarmed by the rapid acceleration in melting which the research revealed. Much of that increase has occurred in the last five years alone. North America. A summary study in 2018 incorporating calculations and data from many other studies estimated that total ice loss was 43 gigatons per year on average during the period from 1992 to 2002 but has accelerated to an average of 220 gigatons per year during the five years from 2012 to 2017. ... Satellite data showed Antarctica lost as much sea ice in four years as the Arctic lost in 34 years. As well as sea level rise, the melting of such extensive masses of ice pose other problems. Landscape close to the Greenland Ice Sheet near Kangerlussuaq. Global sea levels have risen 0.55 inches since 2003 due to ice melt in Antarctica and Greenland driven by climate change, according to new data measurements from several NASA satellites. PUBLISHED: 13:02, Mon, Mar 2, 2020 | … And those ice shelves are thinning, letting more ice flow out into the ocean as the warmer water erodes the ice.". A recent study by NASA showed that Antarctica and Greenland's ice sheets lost 118 gigatons and 200 gigatons of ice on average per year, which caused the sea level to … (CNN)The South Pole has been warming at more than three times the global average over the past 30 years, a new study has found.That could have huge implications for the melting of Antarctic … The eastern half is the big player in this game: it holds 10 times more ice than the West — enough, on its own, to raise sea levels by 170 feet. In the latest study, the scientists reported that the majority of all ice losses were driven by atmospheric melting, with 68 per cent from Arctic sea ice, mountain glaciers, ice shelf calving and ice sheet surface mass balance. Using this, I can find the volume of the melted water (using density = mass/volume). See the Huge Crack in West Antarctica Before Iceberg Broke Off July 13, 2017 - A giant iceberg the size of Delaware has broken off the Larsen C Ice Shelf in West Antarctica… Penguin Gentoo on the beach of the Dobrowolski Glacier with red snow in the background, a phenomenon that happens due to the heating of the water, on January 04, 2020 in King George Island, Antarctica. Between 1994 and 2017 the Earth lost 28 trillion tonnes of ice and the rate of melting is accelerating rapidly, according to scientists who used satellite data and other models to detail for the first time the extraordinary total impact of the climate crisis on various bodies of ice. A Satellite Lets Scientists See Antarctica’s Melting Like Never Before. The continent of Antarctica has been losing more than 100 cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice per year since 2002. Fluctuations in the weather can have a significant impact on melting Antarctic ice, and models that do not include this factor can underestimate … The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. The difference between the salt water of the oceans and the large areas of freshwater can be sufficient to prevent the seasonal formation of sea ice, and in some areas, to alter how established ocean currents interact. We want to hear from you. And many of those papers showed different results. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. A Division of NBCUniversal. A look at maps of the region's ice loss makes this clear, says Nick Holschuh, a geologist at Amherst College. There is a continent … Scientists alarmed by rapid acceleration of melting as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile. The South Pole has been the stable one in the climate change era—relatively speaking. By … Global sea levels will rise 2 to 6 feet by 2100 on the current trajectory, driven mainly by melting in Greenland and Antarctica, according to satellite data. Previous studies of ice loss typically analyze data from multiple satellites and airborne missions. A massive chunk of free-floating sea ice is seen from above … Global sea levels will rise 2 to 6 feet by 2100 on the current trajectory, driven mainly by melting in Greenland and Antarctica. Larger Image The Antarctic ice sheet. Despite the vast scale of the melting, she said the research team had not been surprised by the scale of the ice loss around the world, as they were already familiar with the regional estimates. Global sea levels have risen 0.55 inches since 2003 due to ice melt in Antarctica and Greenland driven by climate change according to new data measurements from several NASA satellites. The average annual loss of ice from Greenland and Antarctica in the 2010s was 475bn tonnes – six times greater than the 81bn tonnes a year lost in … Since 1992, annual ice loss from the Antarctic Peninsula has more than doubled, and it’s tripled in West Antarctica. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. ... where little ice is lost through surface melting and runoff, as much as two-thirds of Greenland’s ice is lost this way. Data is a real-time snapshot *Data is delayed at least 15 minutes. Antarctic ice shelves – 6.5 trillion tonnes, Greenland ice sheet – 3.8 trillion tonnes, Antarctic ice sheet – 2.5 trillion tonnes, Southern Ocean sea ice – 0.9 trillion tonnes. The frozen continent of Antarctica contains the vast majority of all freshwater on Earth. But a pair of studies about Antarctica's past and its present point towards a very different future. The volume of ice in Antarctica — if it were all to melt — is enough to raise global sea level by more than 50 meters [more than 160 feet]. The research has been published as a preprint in open access journal The Cryosphere and is yet to be peer-reviewed. Got a confidential news tip? High temperatures in Antarctica earlier this month have caused ice caps to melt to an unprecedented degree. "There are ice shelves at the downstream end of those glaciers floating on water. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium. Greenland's famous Eqi glacier. Create a commenting name to join the debate, There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts. Dr Lawrence said: “The thing which is most cause for concern is the [melt] rate we’ve calculated is accelerating. Relatively little warming has occurred to change the endless ice sheets of Eastern Antarctica, which contain enough frozen water that sea levels would rise by nearly 200 ft. if it all melted. Officially called the Thwaites Glacier, this mass of ice nestled into the western edge of Antarctica is melting at an alarming rate. New NASA images reveal that nearly a quarter of an Antarctic island's snow cover melted in that time -- … 10:01am Sep 10, 2020. The Greenland ice sheet alone holds enough water to raise the planet’s sea level by 7.4 metres, while the total melt of all ice in Antarctica would raise sea levels by around 60 metres, according to Nasa. As temperatures rise due to climate change, the melting of polar ice sheets is accelerating. To find this rise in water, I just need to take the volume of melted water and divide by the area of the ocean (and here you can see why it's nice to have everything in units of meters, m 2 and m 3).  Through his ongoing study, climate scientist, Nick Golledge, has estimated that Antarctic ice sheets will continue to melt and will have a profound effect on global climate. The effects of climate change in Antarctica may include rising temperatures and increasing snowmelt and ice loss. Dr Isobel Lawrence, a research fellow at the University of Leeds and a co-author of the study, told The Independent that if 28 trillion tonnes of ice were distributed across the surface of Wales, the ice sheet would be 1.2km thick. The continent of Antarctica has been losing more than 100 cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice per year since 2002. It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. “The atmosphere in this region has warmed by about 3C since 1980,” Dr Jenny Turton, a polar researcher at Friedrich-Alexander University in Germany, told BBC News. Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. All the ice stored in glaciers and in the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland are composed of freshwater, and when they melt and drain into the oceans, the huge volumes of freshwater then change the salinity of the seas. Without it, winters in the UK could be around 5C colder, scientists have said. Dr Lawrence said: “In the Southern Ocean and the Arctic Oceans we’ve seen changes in circulation as a result of freshwater impact. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. On Monday (Jan. 14), another group of researchers reported that the rate of Antarctic melt is already six times faster than it was just a few decades ago. New look at Antarctica's biggest ice shelf shows melting is occurring much faster than we thought .  A nine-day heat wave scorched Antarctica's northern tip earlier this month. The Antarctic ice sheet is one of the two polar ice caps of the Earth.It covers about 98% of the Antarctic continent and is the largest single mass of ice on Earth. As of Jan. 1, there was 2.11 million square miles of … If all of the Antarctic ice melted, sea levels around the world would rise about 61 meters (200 feet). These Charts Show How High Sea Levels Will Rise if Antarctica's Ice Continues to Melt. Larger Image Two-thirds of Antarctica is a high, cold desert. Snow melted as far inland as 500 miles and at altitudes of 1.2 miles above sea level. Climate crisis: Earth has lost over 28 trillion tonnes of ice since 1994. On February 6, 2020, weather stations recorded the hottest temperature on record for Antarctica. While the melting of floating sea ice does not directly contribute to sea level rise, the huge volumes of grounded ice in Antarctica and Greenland which have melted, as well as that from glaciers, have already contributed as much as 3.5cm to global sea levels between 1994 and 2017. © 2020 CNBC LLC. Thermometers at the Esperanza Base on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula reached 18.3°C (64.9°F)—around the same temperature as Los Angeles that day. The amount of sea ice around Antarctica has melted to a record low for January, scientists announced this week. Over the last 25 years, melting Antarctic ice has added nearly 3 trillion tons of water to the ocean, enough to fill Lake Erie six times over. The Greenland ice sheet alone holds enough water to raise the planet’s sea level by 7.4 metres, while the total melt of all ice in Antarctica would raise sea levels by around 60 metres, Earth has lost over 28 trillion tonnes of ice since 1994, Stephen Fry urges people to stand with Extinction Rebellion, Why conservatives are so hellbent on ignoring the climate crisis, Greta Thunberg meets Angela Merkel to demand climate action, Last decade was hottest on record as climate crisis accelerates, Antarctic ice shelves ‘melted 50 metres a day at end of last Ice Age’, You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully, Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable, Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties, We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification. As temperatures rise due to climate change, the melting of polar ice sheets is accelerating. If global temperatures increase between 11 and 16 F (6 to 9 C) above pre-industrial levels over every extended period of time over the coming decades, more than 70% of existing Antarctic ice would be lost “irreversibly,” the authors of the study wrote. One assumption is that all ice contained on land has drained to the sea and not held in continental lakes or rivers. But the average temperature in Antarctica is -37°C, so the ice there is in no danger of melting. The rate at which Antarctica is losing ice has tripled since 2007, according to the latest available data. Melting from ice shelves doesn't raise sea levels because they are already floating, but the shelves do provide stability for the glaciers and ice sheets behind them, the scientists said. A melting East Antarctic is deeply worrying. Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC delivered to your inbox. The findings come from the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat-2) that was launched into orbit in 2018 to take elevation measurements of Earth, as well as satellite measurements from 2003 to 2009 that measured ice sheet change. Much of that increase has occurred in the last five years alone. By Sean Martin. The remaining 32 per cent of the losses were from ice sheet discharge and ice shelf thinning, which they said were being driven by oceanic melting. Global Business and Financial News, Stock Quotes, and Market Data and Analysis. Scientists found that Greenland’s ice sheet lost an average of 200 gigatons of ice per year and Antarctica’s ice sheet lost an average of 118 gigatons of ice per year. She said Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet melt could contribute 25-30cm to global sea levels by the end of the century under the “worst case” scenario outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, while thermal expansion of the oceans due to warming could also raise sea levels further. Antarctica's colossal Thwaites Glacier is melting fast - and scientists may have discovered why . In the two decades since the 1990s, we’ve seen this estimate go up from 0.8 to 1.2 trillion tonnes of ice a year, so that’s a 57 per cent increase in one decade. The bottom map shows the number of days on which melting occurred in 2005, a year of particularly dramatic melting. So scientists have been trying to understand why planetary warming has not melted Antarctic sea ice like it has … Team of researchers and officers of the Brazilian Navy preparing to leave Wanda Glacier beach and return to Comandante Ferraz Station, Enseada Lussich, on January 04, 2020 in King George Island, Antarctica. One gigaton of ice can fill 400,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? The one thing that has to stay constant when the ice melts is the mass. Arctic sea ice has been melting at a steady clip this summer as it heads toward its annual low point. Antarctica is covered with ice an average of 2,133 meters (7,000 feet) thick. “That has consequences for sea level rise. But scientists warn that the projections underestimate the climate change impact on sea level rise. It covers an area of almost 14 million square kilometres (5.4 million square miles) and contains 26.5 million cubic kilometres (6,400,000 cubic miles) of ice. Previous studies have suggested changes to salinity could be responsible for a slowing down of currents such as the Atlantic “conveyor belt”, which brings the warm water of the Gulf Stream, and consequently a warm climate, to western Europe. The Antarctic as a whole contains about 90 percent of the planet’s ice — enough in theory to raise global sea levels an average of roughly 200 feet should it all melt. The ice sheet covering most of the island contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by over 7 metres if it all melted. Here it becomes part of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, flowing deep - a third of a mile (530m) - below a layer of much colder water. The warm spell caused widespread melting on nearby glaciers. (One gigaton is a billion tons.) They found all areas had lost trillions of tonnes of ice, with 60 per cent of all melting occurring in the northern hemisphere. Melting of the Antarctic ice sheet will cause sea level rises of about two and a half metres around the world, even if the goals of the Paris agreement are met, research has shown.. Antarctica’s ice sheet is more than a mile deep on average, holding enough water to raise sea levels 200 feet should it all melt. America. Antarctica Has Lost More Than 3 Trillion Tons Of Ice In 25 Years Antarctica's ice is melting faster than was thought, say scientists who recently completed the … Scientists alarmed by rapid acceleration of melting as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise Are you sure you want to mark this comment as inappropriate? Greenland. The melt of sea ice and ice shelves doesn’t contribute to sea level rise because they float on water, and about 54 per cent of ice is floating and 46 per cent is grounded, so it means roughly half of the losses we’ve estimated are directly adding to sea level rise.”. Two hundred years later and it approaches a tipping point of irreversible glacial melt. East Antarctica appears to have experienced a net gain of a relatively small amount of ice during the 25-years although uncertainty is greater due to subsidence of the underlying bedrock. See the Huge Crack in West Antarctica Before Iceberg Broke Off July 13, 2017 - A giant iceberg the size of Delaware has broken off the Larsen C Ice Shelf in West Antarctica… By CNN. What we don’t know yet is the result of that on the rest of the world, because global ocean circulation is all linked up. Those estimates have dire consequences for coastal residents, who comprise more than 40% of the total U.S. population and $7.9 trillion in gross domestic product. Glaciers everywhere might be melting, but only one has earned the most terrifying nickname: the Doomsday Glacier. So scientists have been trying to understand why planetary warming has not melted Antarctic sea ice like it has … If the IPCC predictions are incorrect, things could get much, much worse, the authors of the new study find. The Antarctic freezing trend has not been captured well by climate models. But scientists warn that the projections underestimate the climate change impact on sea level rise. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. Antarctica is covered with ice an average of 2,133 meters (7,000 feet) thick. As temperatures rise due to climate change, the melting of polar ice sheets is accelerating. The 27 January marks the first time the Antarctica mainland was seen with human eyes. Glacial melting in Antarctica may become irreversible. Scientists found that Greenland's ice sheet lost an average of 200 gigatons of ice per year and Antarctica's ice sheet lost an average of 118 gigatons of ice per year. If all of the Antarctic ice melted, sea levels around the world would rise about 61 meters (200 feet). In Antarctica, satellite measurements showed that increased snowfall has actually thickened some part of the ice sheet in the continent's interior, though ice loss in West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula outweighed the affects of snowfall. Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. The Antarctic ice sheet is one of the two polar ice caps of the Earth.It covers about 98% of the Antarctic continent and is the largest single mass of ice on Earth. The polar ice caps are melting six times faster than in the 1990s, according to the most complete analysis to date. This article is more than 1 year old. The rate at which Antarctica is losing ice has tripled since 2007, according to the latest available data. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium. Last year, Greenland's ice sheet, the biggest in the world, contributed to a sea level rise of about 1.5 millimeters in a year of record melting driven by hotter temperatures.