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Thu Jul 11, 2019, 08:57 PM

W. Antarctic Losing 35 Billion Tons Of Ice/Year, Doubling In Decade; FL-Sized Thwaites A Weak Spot

Melting ice sheets in the Antarctic, particularly one of the largest and unstable glaciers in the region, could significantly accelerate global sea level rise, according to a new report. The climate scientists who measured likely outcomes of glacial melting at the bottom of the world focused the study on the Thwaites glacier, an area as large as Florida in western Antarctica that is considered the most unstable in the continent.

The study found that even if no further climate change happens in the future, more Antarctic ice sheets are likely to become unstable. It also states that as destabilization of glaciers in Antarctica continues, its increasingly likely that sea levels will rise more rapidly. Due to our past changes in climate there is a certain amount of sea level rise that will definitely occur in the future, Alex Robel, a glaciologist and assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, tells TIME. He and two other scientists from the California Institute of Technology and the University of Washington wrote the report published by the National Academy of Sciences.

Earlier this year, a NASA-led study discovered that a giant cavity, two-thirds the area of Manhattan had developed underneath Thwaites, highlighting the unexpected accelerated melting in the region. Its definitely distressing on a human level to think or realize the fact that there is a certain amount of not going back in terms of sea level rise that weve already committed ourselves to in the future, Robel added.

The amount of ice flowing out of the region has nearly doubled in the last 30 years, losing 35 gigatons of ice per year between 2009-2017 alone. That amounts to 3% of the current rate of sea level rise according to Robert Larter, a Marine geophysicist at the British Antarctic Survey.



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