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ESA's Cryosat mission detects continued West Antarctic ice loss

RATE THIS! +5
Posted in Science on 11th Dec, 2013 11:05 PM by AlexMuller

West Antarctica continues to lose ice to the ocean and this loss appears to be accelerating, according to new data from Europe's Cryosat spacecraft. The dedicated polar mission finds the region now to be dumping over 150 cubic km of ice into the sea every year.

 
It equates to a 15% increase in West Antarctica's contribution to global sea level rise. Cryosat was launched in 2010 with a radar specifically designed to measure the shape of ice surfaces.
 
And the instrument's novel design, scientists believe, is enabling the European Space Agency satellite to observe features beyond the capability of previous missions. The new study, presented here in San Francisco to the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, confirms the usual suspects to be involved in the increased ice loss.
 
They are Pine Island, Thwaites and Smith Glaciers. These major glaciers and their associated tributaries drain the interior of West Antarctica, taking its mass into the Amundsen Sea.
 
The ice near to their grounding lines - the places where the ice streams lift up off the land and begin to float out over the ocean - is now thinning by between four and eight metres per year.

Tags: iceclimate changeCryosatspaceESAAntarcticaglacier

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-12
+1
More and better we can measure changes linked to climate change there is less room for controversy. It is clear that ice is melting and at an alarming rate Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-12
+1
It seems that the data are not completely clear. Although some of the changes are due to increased ice thinning, others are related to Cryosat's capacity to observe previously unseen terrain. This should be improved Reply


 

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