Why are Antarctic sea ice melt accelerating?
The answer is that Antarctic ice shelves are melting faster in summer than they are in winter, according to a new study.
It is a result that scientists are now trying to understand and predict.
The new research has implications for understanding how sea ice is affected by ocean circulation and changes in global warming.
In particular, the researchers wanted to know how quickly Antarctic ice would lose its thickness in response to changes in sea level.
So they ran a simulation model using data from satellite measurements of Antarctic ice thickness and sea level changes.
They found that in summer Antarctica ice lost about 6% of its thickness.
And in winter it lost almost 8%.
This rate of loss is much slower than previous studies have predicted.
For example, a study published in 2016 by the University of California, Berkeley, estimated that Antarctic sea level would drop by about 1 metre in a few years due to sea level rise.
Another study, published in Science, estimated Antarctic sea levels would fall by about 5 metres in a century.
That study also predicted that Antarctic Antarctic sea shelves would become more unstable and lose their ice in summer.
But the new study, by researchers from the University for International Development at Lund University in Sweden, shows that the rate of change in Antarctic sea shelf ice thickness is much more rapid than the previous estimates.
“We have shown that the loss of Antarctic sea-ice is accelerating as summertime ice thickness declines,” said Professor Peter Tullberg, one of the authors of the study.
“The rapidity of the loss is surprising, given that we have seen ice shelves losing in the past in the same period.”
The study was published online in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Read more about ice and sea ice.