Urgent action is required now to halt or slow down rising sea levels
14 Junio 2018 16:30
Antarctica is losing ice at an accelerated rate and is of deep concern to scientists tracking the region’s changes.
Satellites that monitor the area suggest that some 200 billion tonnes a year are now being lost to the ocean as a result of melting.
Global sea levels are rising by 0.6mm annually as a result - a three-fold increase since 2012 when the last such assessment was undertaken. The scientists reported their findings in the journal Nature.
Urgent action is required. Governments will need to analyse the information closely and its accelerating trend to plan for future defences to protect coastal communities.
The researchers say the losses are occurring mainly in the West of the continent, where warm waters are melting glacier fronts that finish in the ocean.
‘We can't say when it started - we didn't collect measurements in the sea back then,’ Prof Andrew Shepherd, who leads the Ice sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (Imbie), told BBC News.
‘But what we can say is that it's too warm for Antarctica today. It's about half a degree Celsius warmer than the continent can withstand and it's melting about five metres of ice from its base each year, and that's what's triggering the sea-level contribution that we're seeing.’