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Greenland and Antarctica are losing ice six times faster than in the 1990s, new study shows

The rate of ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica is currently on track with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s worst-case climate warming scenario, according to a new study published in the journal Nature today [11 March].

The authors - comprising an international team of polar researchers, including several scientists working on ESA's Climate Change initiative Ice Sheet projects - compared and combined data from 11 satellites – including ESA’s ERS-1, ERS-2, Envisat and CryoSat missions, as well as the EU’s Copernicus Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 missions – to monitor changes in the ice sheet’s volume, flow and gravity.

The study finds that:

  • Greenland and Antarctica lost 6.4 trillion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017 – pushing global sea levels up by 17.8 millimetres.
  • The combined rate of ice loss has risen by a factor of six in just three decades (since the 1990s)
  • Polar ice sheets are now responsible for a third of all sea level rise.

For the full story visit esa.int 

Caption: Antarctica and Greenland’s contribution to sea level change