Scientists studying the progress of ice depletion in the Antarctic region have confirmed that the amount of ice receding from here is faster than the amount being replenished by snowfall so the area is being considered as unstable. This is because some of the largest glaciers in this region have thinned by nearly 120 meters in several locations and loss from two of the biggest streams in the region namely Pine Island and Thwaites have gone up by five times since spacecraft started observing the area. The thinning of Antarctic ice cover has accelerated in the last decade and it could be due to warm ocean waters that are swarming in the continent’s edge from where glacier drainage enters into the sea. A recent study led by Britain details of which were presented at Milan’s Living Planet Symposium presented these disturbing details.
The conference is regarded as biggest conference of scientists, influencers and thought leaders where matters related to observation of earth’s condition are discussed. The study collated overlapping data of four satellites that are part of European Space Agency’s mission namely ERS-1, ERS-2, Cryosat and Envisat. These spacecraft had been launched to measure the height changes in eastern and western divisions of the Antarctic ice sheet. Their data collected between 1992 and 2017 was combined with several weather models to seek details of ice sheet elevation trends during the period based on snowfalls, melting and calving of icebergs. Dr Malcolm McMillan of Lancaster University and head at UK’s centre for Polar Observation and Modeling stated that this unique dataset helped them to identify regions of Antarctica that are changing or thinning faster than expected. He said that these details have helped them understand how the ice in the region expanded over a period of time and spread inland which is important to gauge how the melting ice sheet is contributing to global rise in sea levels.