Antarctica

ANTARCTICA IS MELTING FASTER THAN EVER BEFORE A MASSIVE MELTING PROBLEM – Mary Beth Griggs

Study after study shows that Antarctica isn’t in great shape. Its ice shelves are disappearing and its ice sheets are collapsing, hastening swiftly rising sea levels. Sounds terrible.

But just in case you wanted a second opinion, a new study out of Princeton University takes a look at a decade’s worth of satellite data. Their results, published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, show that not only is Antarctica melting, it’s melting faster than ever before. Unlike other studies that looked at the volume of ice lost, this study used data relating to the mass of the ice–the difference the researchers say between measuring weight loss by looking in a mirror versus using a scale. While looking in a mirror (or the volume of ice) can give you some idea of what’s going on, it’s sometimes deceptive. Snow compacting into ice leads to a reduction in volume, but only ice melting into water or breaking off the continent registers as a change in mass.

They used data collected between 2003 and 2014 by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) twin satellites that can measure differences in the amount of water around the world. Since its launch in 2002, GRACE has analyzed the health of underground aquifers, analyzed flooding, and helped show that ice loss in Antarctica was messing with the continent’s gravity.

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