Alarming ice loss

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The world’s two largest ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting at the fastest rates ever recorded, according to a new study based on detailed satellite imagery. Presented by scientists at the Germany-based Alfred ­Wegener Institute, the research was conducted with the help of sophisticated mapping technology and the use of a satellite which used radar technology to generate highly accurate elevation measurements of the ice sheets.

What the detailed look at the ice shows is devastating. The ­volume loss in Greenland has doubled since 2000. The loss of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has in the same time span increased by a factor of three.

Combined, the two ice sheets are thinning at a rate of 500 cubic kilometres per year. That is the highest speed observed since ­altimetry satellite records began about 20 years ago.

The contribution of both ice sheets together to sea level rise has doubled since 2009. This is yet another consequence of the catastrophic consequence of ­climate change

Alan HInnrichs

Gillespie Terrace