Antarctica shrinking much faster than thought

Published: Friday 15 February 2008

-- Antarctica is losing ice much faster than thought, say scientists who have built the most complete picture of Antarctica's glaciers showing exactly how fast the ice sheets are cracking. The mass of ice falling into the ocean has increased by 75 per cent over 10 years, with the biggest losses occurring in West Antarctica. In 2006, West Antarctica lost 132 billion tonnes of ice, compared to 1996 when the loss was 86 billion tonnes. The finding comes only days after the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the group's next report should look at the "frightening" possibility that ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica could melt rapidly at the same time. In its latest climate change report, IPCC had assumed no melting in West Antarctica.

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