Ice Sheets at Both Poles are Losing Ice at an Increasing Rate

The ice loss in the Arctic and and in the Antarctic is accelerating, according to a new study by an international team of experts supported by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). This team has combined data from multiple satellites and aircraft to produce the most comprehensive and accurate assessment to date of ice sheet losses in Greenland and Antarctica and their contributions to sea level rise. In a landmark study published Thursday in the journal Science, 47 researchers from 26 laboratories report the combined rate of melting for the ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica has increased during the last 20 years. Together, these ice sheets are losing more than three times as much ice each year (equivalent to sea level rise of 0.04 inches or 0.95 millimeters) as they were in the 1990s (equivalent to 0.01 inches or 0.27 millimeters). About two-thirds of the loss is coming from Greenland, with the rest from Antarctica. This rate of ice sheet losses falls within the range reported in 2007 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The spread of estimates in the 2007 IPCC report was so broad, however, it was not clear whether Antarctica was growing or shrinking.
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