Antarctica is losing ice 6 times faster today than in 1980s

Antarctica is losing ice 6 times faster today than in 1980s

Important Facts:

Study observation: 

  • In 1980s, Rate of Ice loss was 40 billion metric tons/ year which has increased to 252 billion metric tons/year since 2009
  • Rate of Ice melting is 15% higher than last year
  • Antarctica Ice coverage studied in three parts: Eastern, Western and Peninsular Antarctica
  • Rate of Ice Melting in West Antarctica and Antarctica Peninsula accounts for 4/5th of total Antarctica ice loss
  • “Eastern Antarctica” which had been considered Stable (little or no ice loss/gain) is now losing ice at rate of 51 billion metric tons/year

Study Warning:

  • Observed Ice melting in East Antarctica along with Western and Peninsular Antarctica could lead to sea level rise more than 10 feet in next 100 year
  • Increased rate of Ice melting is key indicator of Human-Induced Climate Change

Consequences of Sea Level Rise:

  • Inundation of small islands developing states raising issue of climate refugees
  • Saline water intrusion into fresh water aquifers
  • Change in ocean linked atmospheric circulation impacting precipitation pattern across globe Indian Monsoon

India’s Concern and Effort:

  • Concern: India is vulnerable to coastal inundation (7500km coastline) and erratic monsoon led precipitation
  • Effort: India has two research bases Maitri and Bharati (under National Center for Polar and Ocean Research) in Antarctica for multi-disciplinary studies
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