US Scientists Warn of Six-Fold Increase in Antarctic Ice Melting Since 1980s

© AP Photo / Raytheon Antarctic Services, John Feaney, HOThe ice highway at the Antarctica
The ice highway at the Antarctica - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Antarctic ice sheet is shrinking at a rate of 252 billion tons per year, a six-fold increase since the 1980s, which has raised global ocean levels by 14 millimeters since 1979, according to a report by the National Academy of Sciences.

"The total mass loss increased from 40 ± 9 Gt/y [billion tons per year] in 1979–1990 to 50 ± 14 Gt/y in 1989–2000, 166 ± 18 Gt/y in 1999–2009, and 252 ± 26 Gt/y in 2009–2017," the report stated on Monday. "The contribution to sea-level rise from Antarctica averaged 3.6 ± 0.5 mm per decade with a cumulative 14.0 ± 2.0 mm [millimeters] since 1979."

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The mass loss is dominated by enhanced glacier flow in areas closest to warm, subsurface circumpolar deep water, including east Antarctica, which has been a major contributor over the entire period, the report said.

In addition, the report said the trend is likely to persist in coming decades as prevailing winds push more warm water toward the continent’s glaciers.

The findings reinforce data put forth by other scientists warning that the world could face dire consequences if climate change continues unabated.

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Some scientists have suggested that seas could rise by nearly three feet by 2100 without a sharp decline in global output of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses.

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