By Alex Bellury, Senior Writer

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

(NEW FRONTIER NEWS) – In the last five years, ice melt has tripled in Antarctica since 1992, according to Nature’s assessment of the state of South Pole ice to date.

Over 84 scientists, 44 international organizations and 24 satellite surveys were involved in the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE), which discovered that Antarctica lost 219 billion tonnes (241.41 billion U.S. tons) of ice a year between 2012 and 2017. As a result, the global sea level rose 0.6 millimeters (0.02 inches). Before then, the ice melted at a rate of 76 billion tonnes (83.78 billion U.S. tons) per year, and the global sea level rose 0.2 millimeters (0.008 inches).

Most of the ice loss came from West Antarctica at the Thwaites Glaciers. Ice sheet collapse on the Antarctic Peninsula and slow growth of the East Antarctic ice sheet also contributed.

“The last time we looked at the polar ice sheets, Greenland was the dominant contributor. That’s no longer the case,” study co-leader and CPOM Director Professor Andrew Shepherd of Leeds University said.

Another two-year study, led by the University of Waterloo, found that ice shelves are destabilizing from below and cracking on top from air temperatures and rising ocean, which would increase the chance of them breaking off.

“This study is more evidence that the warming effects of climate change are impacting our planet in ways that are often more dangerous than we perhaps had thought,” Study leader Christine Dow, Canada research chair of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment said. “There are many more vulnerable ice shelves in the Antarctic that, if they break up, will accelerate the processes of sea level rise.”

“To avoid the worst impacts, we will need strong international cooperation and effective regulation backed by rigorous science. This will rely on governments recognizing that Antarctica is intimately coupled to the rest of the Earth system, and damage there will cause problems everywhere,” study co-author Professor Martin Siegert from the Grantham Institute said.


Borenstein, Seth. (June 2018). Antarctica’s ice sheet is melting 3 times faster than before. ABC 7 Chicago. The United States.

Kaufman, Mark. (June 2018). Antarctica is losing billions of tons of ice each year, sharply boosting sea levels. Mashable. The United States.

Rosane, Olivia. (June 2018). Antarctic Ice Melt Has Tripled in Five Years. EcoWatch. Europe.