Global warming melt ice in Antarctica faster than ever before – about six times more a year now than 40 years ago – which leads to increasingly high sea levels worldwide, scientists warn.
Antarctic melting has already raised the global sea level by more than 1.4 cm between 1979 and 2017 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a peer-reviewed US magazine.
It is expected that the pace of melting will lead to a catastrophic rise in sea levels in the coming years, says lead author Eric Rignot, head of the Department of Earth Systems Science at the University of California Irvine.
"As the Antarctic ice sheet continues to melt, we expect the multi-meter sea level to rise from Antarctica in the coming centuries," said Mr. Rynot.
Increase by 1.8 million By 2100, as some scientists predict in the worst scenarios, flood many coastal cities where millions of people around the world live, showed previous studies.
In this study, researchers began the ancient estimate of the ice mass in Antarctica in 18 geographic regions.
The data came from high-resolution aerial photographs taken by NASA aircraft, along with a satellite radar from several space agencies.
The researchers found that from 1979 to 1990, Antarctica dropped annually an average of 40 billion tons of ice mass.
From 2009 to 2017, ice loss has increased by more than 6 times, to 252 billion tons per year.
Even more disturbingly, the researchers found that the areas that were once considered "stable and unchanged for change" in East Antarctica also dump a lot of ice, the study said.
"Wilkes Land farming in East Antarctica has always been an important player in mass loss, even in the 1980s, as our studies have shown," said Mr. Rynot.
"This region is likely to be more sensitive to climate than traditionally anticipated, and it is important to know, because it contains more ice than Western Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula."
The warming of the water in the ocean will only accelerate the loss of ice in the future, said Mr. Rynot. Recent studies have shown that the oceans are warming faster than previously thought by setting new heat records over the past few years.