Ice Sheets Melting Faster Than Previously Thought

icebergA new study that analyzed detailed satellite information illustrates that ice sheets in Greenland and western Antarctica are melting faster than scientists previously thought.  In some areas the melting is occurring at a disturbingly high speed.  In parts of Antarctica since 2003, the ice sheets have decreased 30 feet per year in thickness.  Also, when the study compared the time periods 1995-2003 to 2003-2007, the yearly rate of thinning in Antarctica increased 50%

To determine these changes, the study used 50 million laser readings from a NASA satellite.  Using these readings, scientists were able to calculate changes in the heights of the ice sheets for the first time.  The scientists found that the edges of the ice sheets were especially vulnerable due their proximity to warmer water which melts the ice from below.   For more information on the study, see Reuters.

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