Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Climate change: Antarctica is shrinking

More bad news on the climate front: contrary to earlier reports, Antarctica is shrinking:

A comprehensive study of Antarctica’s ice confirms that the polar cap is shrinking. In 2006 alone, Antarctica lost nearly 200 billion tonnes of ice, researchers say — the equivalent of a global sea level rise of more than half a millimetre. That’s 75% more than losses in 1996, they add.
The reason is that ice is flowing more swiftly down glaciers and into the sea. Meanwhile, contrary to expectations, there has been no growth in East Antarctica - the mass of that ice sheet has remained stable. The upshot is that we are probably looking at far greater rises in sea-level over the next century than the IPCC predicts, with a consequent effect on human lives.