11/30/2012

Arctic Ice Melting Faster Than Scientists Predicted


Scientists have long been discussing the causes and consequences of Global Warming, which has at one time or another been the discussion at family dinner tables.  Scientists have never been clear on the rate of polar ice cap melting, but have been positively sure of their rapid depletion.  Recent studies are beginning to put our dire situation into a more realistic timeline.  A recent study released by over 20 polar research teams, shows that ice in Antarctica and Greenland is melting significantly faster than previously thought.

According to data, 4 trillion tons of ice have melted off Antarctica and Greenland ice sheets, causing a rise in sea levels of about half-inch between 1992 and 2011, which is more than previously estimated, and the pace seems to be accelerating.  Greenland is melting five times faster than it was two decades ago.


Scientists claim the study ends a long-running debate over whether the vast ice sheet covering the Antarctic continent is loosing or gaining mass.  East Antarctica is gaining some ice, the satellite data shows, but west Antarctica and the Antarctic peninsula is loosing twice as much, overall resulting in net loss.  These studies are a great achievement leading to a better understanding of how sea level change may effect the way we live in coastal cities and regions around the world.  Rising sea level is one of the greatest long-term threats posed by climate change, threatening low-lying cities and increasing potential damage brought by hurricanes, as we saw with Super-storm Sandy last October.

Sources: The Guardian, CNN