Antarctica’s ice sheet is shrinking because of climate change, a new study says, and its loss will increase the likelihood of more deadly storms in the coming years.
The findings were published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A previous study of the region by researchers at the University of Bristol and the University de Montréal and published last year found that the region’s ice was already losing more than 50 percent of its volume and that it could lose another 15 percent by the end of this century, according to the study.
“Antarctica is shrinking, and it is shrinking rapidly,” said lead author Dr. Thomas J. Riedel, a marine geophysicist at the university’s Bristol Marine Station.
“It is already shrinking.
It is already becoming a bigger and bigger area of sea.
And we have a chance to slow down the rate of that decline and slow it down in a way that is not necessarily a positive for our ecosystem.”
The study examined the ice thickness and volume of the entire Antarctic Peninsula, which spans 1,600 square miles (2,700 square kilometers).
It also analyzed the effects of global warming on Antarctic ice, sea levels, and glaciers.
“We know that in the last 100 years the ice sheets have decreased about half of their thickness.
That means that they have lost a lot of their volume,” Riedels co-author Dr. Yair Sperry said.
“We know they have become thinner because of the increase in solar radiation.
So it has become more and more difficult for the ice to hold back the sea, which is what causes the melting.”
Scientists know that global warming is having a negative impact on Antarctica’s glaciers and ice sheets.
And that means the glaciers are losing more ice in the polar regions, Sperrios said.
But Riedals research was the first to analyze the effects on the entire continent of global climate change.
The team used satellite data and computer models to examine how ice volume in Antarctica changed over time, and to calculate how much more ice is lost each year than previously believed.
“I think what we have seen over the last decade is the glaciers and the ice sheet are getting thinner, which means that the amount of ice loss that we see in Antarctica has increased dramatically,” Riesel said.
“And if we do not slow down our rate of ice sheet melting, it is possible that by the year 2050 we could see Antarctica losing more sea level rise than it currently does.”
The findings highlight the importance of global-scale climate change in Antarctic sea level projections, said co-authors Dr. Mark Stroud, a glaciologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, and Dr. Andrew B. Meehl, a geophysicists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
“In terms of sea level change, Antarctica is the most vulnerable region,” MeeHL said.
A recent study by a group of researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution found that Antarctica’s melting could increase sea levels by more than 2 meters by 2100, and by as much as 6 meters by 2070, according the researchers.
The study also said Antarctica’s melt could make a significant contribution to sea level in the western Pacific Ocean.
The researchers said they hope that by studying Antarctica and other regions in the world that are already vulnerable, they will be able to better understand how climate change is impacting other regions, and how these changes could affect future sea levels.
“One of the things that we hope to learn from this work is how to adapt and what kind of response is necessary in other places,” Riels said.
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