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Antarctica's floating ice shelves show massive depletion over two decades

ANI  |  Washington 

A new study has recently revealed that Antarctic's ice shelves have shrunk by as much as 18 percent in over nearly two decades.

A new study led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego provided new insights on how the Antarctic ice sheet is responding to climate change.

Data from nearly two decades of satellite missions have shown that the ice volume decline was accelerating.

Merging data from three overlapping missions, the researchers identified changes in ice thickness that took place over more than a decade, advancement over studying data from single missions that only provide snapshots of trends.

Total ice shelf volume (mean thickness multiplied by ice shelf area) across Antarctica changed very little from 1994 to 2003, then declined rapidly, the study showed. West Antarctic ice shelves lost ice throughout the entire observation period, with accelerated loss in the most recent decade.

Earlier gains in East Antarctic ice shelf volume ceased after about 2003, the study showed. Some ice shelves lost up to 18 percent of their volume from 1994 to 2012.

Under current rates of thinning, the researchers estimate the ice shelves restraining the unstable sector of West Antarctica could lose half their volume within the next 200 years.

The study is published in the journal

First Published: Fri, March 27 2015. 13:06 IST