Antarctica is losing ice 6 times faster today than in 1980s This Nov. 11, 2016, file photo shows the Taylor Glacier near McMurdo Station, Antarctica. (Mark Ralston/Pool Photo via AP, File/Jeremy Harbeck/NASA via AP)
Antarctica is losing ice 6 times faster today than in 1980s
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Antarctica is melting more than six times faster than it did in the 1980s. That's according to a new study.

Scientists used many tools. They used aerial photographs and satellite measurements. They used computer models. They tracked how fast the southern-most continent has been melting since 1979. They have tracked 176 individual basins. They found the ice loss to be accelerating dramatically. This is a key indicator of human-caused climate change.

Since 2009, Antarctica has lost almost 278 billion tons of ice per year. That is what the new study found. In the 1980s, it was losing 44 billion tons a year.

The recent melting rate is 15 percent higher than what a study found last year.

Eric Rignot is a University of California, Irvine, ice scientist. He was the lead author on the new study. It was was published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He said the big difference is that his satellite-based study found East Antarctica is losing 56 billion tons of ice a year. Previously, it was considered stable.

Last year's study took several teams' work into consideration. It found little to no loss in East Antarctica recently and gains in the past.

Melting in West Antarctica and the Antarctica Peninsula account for about four-fifths of the ice loss. East Antarctica's melting "increases the risk of multiple meter (more than 10 feet) sea level rise over the next century or so," Rignot said.

Richard Alley is a Pennsylvania State University scientist. He was not involved in Rignot's study. He called it "really good science."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why do you think it is important to study the ice melting in Antarctica?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (40)
  • karlised-orv
    2/01/2019 - 12:35 p.m.

    I think its important to study the ice melting in Antarctica so we can learn how to stop it. Imagine all the animals that would lose their homes or maybe even go extinct!

  • Maricel A-mag
    2/01/2019 - 11:37 p.m.


    Due to climate change our land has gone through many evolutionary processes and one of them is Antarctica which in the text mentions that they traced the speed with which the southernmost continent has been melting since 1979, it is worth mentioning that the fusion in Antarctica Occidental and the Antarctic Peninsula represent approximately four-fifths of the loss of ice. This implies that we have to be more aware of the pollution on the planet.

  • nathanr-orv
    2/04/2019 - 02:47 p.m.

    so we can prevent the water from rising and major islands getting over flowed by water.

  • DrewK-pla
    2/05/2019 - 08:45 a.m.

    Antarctic is currently melting six-times faster than in the 1980s, making this an indicator of human-caused change. This brings in civic engagement, because scientists are the public are trying to do something about it. An example from the article is Eric Rignot, who is an ice scientist and the leader on a new ice study. In fact, he published the study already. Basically, East Antarctica has been losing 56 billion tons of ice per year; however, they also found out ? of the melting has been happening in West Antarctica and at the Antarctic Peninsula. Due to all the ice melting, sea level has also risen. Ultimately, global warming is a real problem that the public and professionals are trying to solve.

  • ethanm-orv
    2/05/2019 - 11:13 a.m.

    We really need to try to stop global warming. Donald trump may not think its real but that doesn't mean it isn't.

  • jordanw-orv1
    2/05/2019 - 11:26 a.m.

    Without ice Antarctica not only will it not be the same. Its contenders, polar bears, penguins,etc.. Will die off. Leaving Antarctica in collapse.

  • jacobt-orv
    2/05/2019 - 11:41 a.m.

    I think it's important to study the ice melting in Antarctica because then you would know when all the ice is gone.

  • anthonyp-orv
    2/05/2019 - 03:04 p.m.

    People need to stop pullution and recycly

  • Yadira C-mag1
    2/06/2019 - 03:20 p.m.


    Of course this is because of the climate changes that have been happening in the world because we as humans do not do our part but should determine itself what is the factor that is affecting you to start taking the right measures not just for that factor but for everything but start with the most serious

  • Nicolas S-mag
    2/06/2019 - 08:46 p.m.

    It*s sad to see how we are ending our planet and only home for people and animals. I believe that to help the planet earth we must take care of the environment. Antarctica is home to several animals and what we do affects us all.

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