The last 5 years has been phenomenal in terms of acceleration in the rate of ice loss across the Antarctic. A whole new satellite survey, conducted by 84 international environmental experts, reflects the loss of about 3 trillion tones of ice over the last two decades.
Classified information on global warming sharing that Antarctica has been losing ice three times faster since 2012, holds immense credibility with the underlined specifics of 219 metric tonnes per annum. This incessant ice loss has lead to an increase in the sea level by almost 8 millimeters inches in the past 25 years. Among the entire range, about 40% i.e. 3 millimeters has been experienced in the last 5 years.
The whooping annual loss of 175 billion tones due to collapsing of ice shelves noted in the western part of Antarctic Peninsula from 2012 to 2017 has triggered the alarm. Another grim reality surfaced in July 2017, when a massive iceberg of about 1 trillion tones-estimated size of Delaware, broke off Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf.
Initially researchers happened to believe in the resilience of the ice sheets. But, gradual rise in global temperatures seemed to unveil a different picture. Climate change pushed Antarctica to contribute towards rising sea level. Reports talk about a looming danger if it crosses the 58 meter level, which virtual seems farfetched, but, definitely not improbable considering the pace.
An array of studies to evaluate the impending threat and strategize a plan to preserve the ecology and geology is underway to prevent the menace from spinning out of control. Constant tracking of the melting ice using Satellite imagery, on the basis of their volume, pace of glacial flow into the ocean as well as the gravity of land mass around the globe weighed the ice sheets marked by permutation and combination of variable ice covers.
The dynamism of ice sheets did not come to light during the assimilation of information on global warming and probable impacts, 30 years back, as experts suggest. General consensus in glaciology was certain that ice sheets do not stand a chance to wear away any sooner.
Retreating glaciers speak volumes on their erstwhile positioning, exposing the traces of their presence. A comparative analysis shows the rate of increase by almost 20 times, from 50 meters to about a kilometer per year in recent times.