Antarctica is ‘melting away’ and coastal areas could see sea level rises of ‘several metres’ as the melt rate is six times higher than 40 years ago, researchers have warned.
A new study found that the melt rate of Antactic ice has increased from 36 billion tonnes in 1979-90 up to 228 billion tonnes from 2009-17, say researchers.
Eric Rignot of the University of California at Irvine told CNN, ‘Antarctica is melting away, not just in a couple of places.’
The researchers used data from satellite radar and high-resolution aerial photos.
The researchers believe that sea levels have already risen by half an inch due to the Antarctic melting – and it will get worse.
Rignot said, ‘As the Antarctic ice sheet continues to melt away, we expect multi-metre sea level rise from Antarctica in the coming centuries.
Even areas previously thought to be stable are melting, Rignot said.
Rignot said, ‘The Wilkes Land sector of East Antarctica has, overall, always been an important participant in the mass loss, even as far back as the 1980s, as our research has shown.
‘This region is probably more sensitive to climate than has traditionally been assumed, and that’s important to know, because it holds even more ice than West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula together.’