Int'l study provides more solid measure of melting in polar ice sheets
WASHINGTON, Nov 29, 2012 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
An international team of
satellite experts has produced more solid assessment of ice losses
from Antarctica and Greenland to date, according to a study to be
published Friday in journal Science.
In the study, the researchers show that melting of the
Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets has contributed 11.1
millimeters to global sea levels since 1992. This amounts to one
fifth of all sea level rise over the survey period. About two
thirds of the ice loss was from Greenland, and the remainder was
Although the ice sheet losses fall within the range reported by
the UN. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007,
the spread of the IPCC estimate was so broad that it was not clear
whether Antarctica was growing or shrinking. The new estimates are
a vast improvement (more than twice as accurate) thanks to the
inclusion of more satellite data, and confirm that both Antarctica
and Greenland are losing ice.
The study also shows that the combined rate of ice sheet
melting has increased over time and, altogether, Greenland and
Antarctica are now losing more than three times as much ice (
equivalent to 0.95 mm of sea level rise per year) as they were in
the 1990s (equivalent to 0.27 mm of sea level rise per year).
Led by Andrew Shepherd at the University of Leeds and Erik
Ivins at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the study combines
observations from 10 different satellite missions to develop the
first consistent measurement of polar ice sheet changes.
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