Have you heard that Antarctica is suffering the consequences of global warming? Recently a study was published that concludes that this continent has lost three trillion tons of ice, all between 1992 and 2017. Ah… one trillion equals one million million.
The study was conducted by the University of Leeds (United Kingdom) and was attended by 84 scientists from 44 international organizations, who relied on 24 satellite observations.
This melting has led to an average increase in sea level of about 8 millimeters, especially in the last five years. Imagine, with all the ice in Antarctica , 58 meters of sea level could be raised around the world. It would be awesome!
The melting of ice and the seas
Since 1989, more than 150 calculations have been made on the loss of ice on this continent , as it was suspected that changes in Earth’s climate affect the polar ice caps. With studies like the one we tell you, you can already detect what the ice losses really are and what consequences they have at sea level.
Until before 2012 Antarctica had lost 76 billion tons per year, steadily. However, after this year, everything began to accelerate, and between 2012 and 2017 the continent began to lose 219 billion tons per year.
In other words, there has been a gradual increase in Antarctic ice losses over the past ten years, which is causing sea levels to rise faster.
What is the use of knowing how much ice is lost?
According to the researchers, knowing how much ice is being lost allows us to know what the effects of climate change are now and in the future.
They also discovered that this accelerated loss of ice on the continent has two causes: 1) the combination of the situation of glaciers in Western Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula, 2) a reduced growth of the ice sheet in East Antarctica.
Look at the map so you understand this last.
Western Antarctica had the largest losses of ice, 53 billion tons per year in the 1990s and 159 billion tons per year since 2012.
While in the far north of the continent, the collapse of the ice shelf in the Antarctic Peninsula has caused an increase of 25 billion tons per year. However, the East Antarctic ice sheet has remained at a steady state over the past 25 years, with an average of 5 billion tons of ice per year.
Now, scientists are concentrating on knowing how Antarctica responded to past climate changes. We hope to inform you soon.