The Big Thaw? NASA Satellites Detect Unexpected Ice Loss in East Antarctica11.24.09
Grace estimate of changes in Antarctica’s ice mass, measured in centimeters of equivalent water height change per year. The study confirmed previous estimates of ice mass loss in West Antarctica, but also found ice mass loss in East Antarctica, primarily in coastal regions (depicted in light blue). Image credit: University of Texas at Austin Center for Space ResearchUsing gravity measurement data from the NASA/German Aerospace Center’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (Grace) mission, a team of scientists from the University of Texas at Austin has found that the East Antarctic ice sheet-home to about 90 percent of Earth’s solid fresh water and previously considered stable-may have begun to lose ice.
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The team used Grace data to estimate Antarctica’s ice mass between 2002 and 2009. Their results, published Nov. 22 in the journal Nature Geoscience, found that the East Antarctic ice sheet is losing mass, mostly in coastal regions, at an estimated rate of 57 gigatonnes a year. A gigatonne is one billion metric tons, or
Once more our optimism take a big hit… more fresh water flowing into the southern oceans, sea rise becoming an issue sooner, and a big giant ???? mark about how this will change the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon gases… “Fasten your seat belts… it’s going to be a bumpy night.”