The Antarctic ice sheet is melting at a way faster rate than at any previously recored time, a new study shows.
The Earth’s largest ice sheet is losing more than 240 billion tons of ice every year, which is three times as much as the rate around 10 years ago, and scientists are now projecting that this could cause sea levels to raise by 6 inches by the end of the century.
The study, published in the journal Nature, was described as the most comprehensive analysis ever done on Antarctica’s ice sheet, involving more than “80 scientists from 44 international organizations and used data taken from multiple satellites, as well as air and ground measurements and computer simulations,” The Huffington Post reported.
Since 1992, Antarctica has lost almost 3 trillion tons of ice, 40 percent being from 2012 to 2017, the research shows.
“The ice sheet is now losing three times as much ice. That’s a big jump, and it did catch us all by surprise,” Lead author of the study, Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds, told NPR.
This means that we have even less time to take action to prevent further climate change and protect the most vulnerable communities, which are predicted to be those of the East Coast of North America.
“I think we should be worried. That doesn’t mean we should be desperate. Things are happening. They are happening faster than we expected,” Isabella Velicogna, an Antarctic ice expert at the University of California at Irvine, told the Associated Press.
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