Antarctica is shedding 160 billion tonnes a year of ice into the ocean, twice the amount of a few years ago, according to new satellite observations. The ice loss is adding to the rising sea levels driven by climate change and even east Antarctica is now losing ice.
The new revelations follows the announcement last week that the collapse of the western Antarctica ice sheet has already begun and is unstoppable, although it may take many centuries to complete.
When making estimates or creating models, researchers often error on the conservative side. Knowing the conditional nature od science, they would rather be a little right than a lot wrong.
Yet again and again with respect to climate change, we find that they are often much lower with their estimates than reality produces. We see that here.
This new satellite, sent up in 2010, can produce much better data than we have ever had before. And for the entire continent The amount of ice lost found by the satellite is 100% greater than most of the previous estimates.
The real worrisome thing is that about 13% of the loss has come from East Antarctica. We actually had expected that to see a small increase in ice, not a decrease.
West Antarctica is on an apparent unstoppable collapse which will raise sea levels 6-7 meters. But the huge East Antarctic ice sheet hods a tremendous amount. If it completely melted, sea levels would go up perhaps 60 meters.
This would put Houston completely underwater, Florida would be gone, Philadelphia would be ocean front, Manhattan would be gone, downtown LA would be on the water, San Francisco would be an island, with an inland sound extending from Chico to Fresno.
The Olympic Peninsula would be an island, Seattle would be a small island and Lake Sammamish would be part of Puget Sound. My house would be about half a mile from the new Sound.
Not likely but then, we did not expect the amount of melting seen in West Antarctica. I guess we will know soon.