The Antarctic has lost three trillion tons of ice since 1992


"There has been a step increase in ice losses from Antarctica during the past decade, and the continent is causing sea levels to rise faster today than at any time in the past 25 years", says Earth observation scientist Andrew Shepherd from the University of Leeds, UK.

"[The Antarctic ice sheet] lost 2,720 billion tonnes [2.998 tons] of ice between 1992 and 2017, which corresponds to an increase in mean sea level of 7.6 millimeters", the report said.

While West Antarctica is melting away, the East Antarctica ice sheet isn't growing enough to offset ice loss from the rest of the continent.

From 1992 to 1997, Antarctica lost 49 billion tons of ice each year.

Shepherd said: "We have long suspected that changes in Earth's climate will affect the polar ice sheets".

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At the northern tip of the continent, ice-shelf collapse at the Antarctic Peninsula has driven an increase of 27.6 billion tons (25 billion metric tons) in ice loss per year since the early 2000s.

The rate at which Antarctica is losing ice has more than doubled since 2012, according to the latest available data. They say that by 2100, Antarctica's melting ice alone could contribute to the rise of sea levels by six inches, or 15 centimeters.

The ice sheets of Antarctica are home to as much as 90 percent of the world's freshwater supply.

Antarctica's potential contribution to global sea level rise from its land-held ice is nearly 7.5 times greater than all other sources of land-held ice in the world combined.

As a part of this study, the researchers involved, analyzed around twenty-four new estimations of the ice loss in Antarctica to observe the difference and the changes brought about.

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East Antarctica, which makes up two-thirds of the continent, is a remote region of an already remote location, where data is scarcer because there are fewer measurement stations, Koppes said.

The research team measured isotopes produced by the interaction between cosmic rays and the nucleus of an atom, called cosmogenic nuclides, in glacial sediment from Antarctic's largest ice shelf.

His team analysed the Larsen A and Larsen B, and Wilkins ice-shelf disintegration events, and found that lack of sea-ice was a common factor.

The melting of Antarctica is accelerating at an alarming rate, with about 3 trillion tons of ice disappearing since 1992, an worldwide team of ice experts said in a new study. "This study shows that we're actually losing more mass along the edges of the ice sheet, where the ice sheet is making contact with the ocean, and that the warming oceans are melting the ice", Koppes said.

"We can not count on East Antarctica to be the quiet player, and we start to observe change there in some sectors that have potential and they're vulnerable, " said Velicogna. The findings helped confirm that the Greenland Ice Sheet is a sensitive responder to global climate change.

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The greatest change in annual ice loss was in West Antarctica, averaging around 58 billion tons in the years leading up to 2012, then skyrocketing to 175 billion tons per year in the five years since. Results of the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE) were published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Twila Moon, a research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center who wasn't part of the studies, said "ice-speaking, the situation is dire".

East Antarctica has sometimes been a focus of attention for people who deny the science of global warming. However, the losses in the last five years have tripled over what they were in the first five years of the period.

At the Antarctic Peninsula, where air temperatures have risen sharply, ice shelves have collapsed as their surfaces have melted.

There are "many, many communities where sea level at high tide is really reaching the brim and spilling into the streets more often that it did just decades ago", he said.

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Study co-author, Dr Phil Reid, from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, said the research identified a previously under-appreciated link between sea ice loss and ice shelf stability.