Antarctic Ice

The loss of Antarctic ice

Antarctica Mass variation (NASA: Climate Indicators)
Antarctica Mass variation (NASA: Climate Indicators)
  • This graph shows the movement over time of the mass of Antarctic ice from 2002 to 2013.
  • The mass shown is in thousands of millions of tonnes (gigatonnes or Gt).
  • The ice levels move up and down with the seasons, but overall, there is a downward trend.
  • As the ice melts in Antarctica, the meltwater flows into the ocean, and NASA’s satellites detect the reduced mass of Antarctica and its ice.

Antarctica has lost 147,000 million tons of ice per year since 2003.
NASA: Vital Signs: Land Ice

The most recent graph

The most recent graph shows a more alarming loss of ice.
See the latest NASA Antarctica Mass Variation graph.

Dangers

A section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline. This melting would raise global sea levels by 1.2 metres. NASA: News Release: 12 May 2014

If the entire Antarctic Ice Sheet melted, the sea level would rise by about 60 meters.
US National Snow and Ice Data Centre NSIDC: Cryosphere: Quick Facts: Ice Sheets

Substantial melting of the Antarctic ice might take hundreds of years, but would we want our descendants to cope with the flooding of most major cities in the world?

The Antarctic is losing sea-ice at record levels.
Climate change is affecting the icy giant of the south: August 2019

It is not sustainable for us to have 147,000 million tons of Antarctic ice melting each year and significant areas of the ice sheet in an irreversible state of decline.

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