The Antarctic ice sheet has lost more than 2,500 billion tons of ice in the past 25 years and nearly half of that has happened since 2012. An international team of polar scientists found that melting in Antarctica has jumped sharply from an average of 76 billion tons per year prior to 2012, to around 219 billion tones each year between 2012 and 2017.
Thwaites Glacier, the large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is not only being eroded by the ocean, it's being melted from below by geothermal heat, researchers at the Institute for Geophysics at The University of Texas at Austin (UTIG) report in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A new study has found that the Antarctic Ice Sheet began melting about 5,000 years earlier than previously thought coming out of the last ice age, and that shrinkage of the vast ice sheet accelerated during eight distinct episodes, causing rapid sea level rise.
After 16 years of planning the countdown is on for one of the most ambitious scientific missions to Antarctica. In October a 12-man team of British scientists, engineers and support staff will make the 16.000 km journey from the UK to go deep into the heart of the frozen continent to collect samples of water and sediments from an ancient lake buried beneath three kilometers of ice.