Antarctica Speeds Into Trouble

Disturbing new discovery indicates climate change is accelerating
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2008 11:35 AM CST
A wind generator (L) dominates the skyline of the Australian research station. New studies show that western Antarctica is losing ice more rapidly that expected and the rate of loss has doubled in the...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Parts of Antarctica thought to be unaffected by global warming are in fact melting as the temperature of the oceans rises, and in parts of the continent, annual ice loss has jumped 140% in the past decade, new research shows. Satellite mapping shows change on a previously unimagined scale, reports the Washington Post. The findings suggest a "frightening" possibility of major ice loss at both poles, experts say.

Widespread polar ice melt could lead to potentially catastrophic rises in sea levels. "Both Greenland and the West Antarctic ice sheet are huge bodies of ice which are sitting on land," said the chief of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "If, through a process of melting, they collapse and are submerged in the sea, then we are talking about sea-level rises of several meters."