Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Increasing Amounts Of Ice Mass Have Been Lost From West Antarctica

Date:
January 14, 2008
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
Increasing amounts of ice mass have been lost from West Antarctica and the Antarctic peninsula over the past ten years, according to new research. Scientists arrived at a best estimate of a loss of 132 billion tons of ice in 2006 from West Antarctica -- up from about 83 billion tons in 1996 -- and a loss of about 60 billion tons in 2006 from the Antarctic Peninsula.

Satellite-derived image of the surface topography of Antarctica. Shown in color are the flow speeds of glaciers draining ice into the oceans. The scale is meters per year. It is noticeable how the rate speeds up in narrow glacier outlets.
Credit: Jonathan Bamber

Increasing amounts of ice mass have been lost from West Antarctica and the Antarctic peninsula over the past ten years, according to research from the University of Bristol and published online recently in Nature Geoscience.

Meanwhile the ice mass in East Antarctica has been roughly stable, with neither loss nor accumulation over the past decade.

Professor Jonathan Bamber at the University of Bristol and colleagues estimated the flux of ice from the ice sheet into the ocean from satellite data that cover 85% of Antarctica's coastline, which they compared with simulations of snow accumulation over the same period, obtained using a regional climate model.

They arrived at a best estimate of a loss of 132 billion tonnes of ice in 2006 from West Antarctica -- up from about 83 billion tonnes in 1996 -- and a loss of about 60 billion tonnes in 2006 from the Antarctic Peninsula.

Professor Bamber said: "To put these figures into perspective, four billion tons of ice is enough to provide drinking water for the whole of the UK population for one year."

The authors conclude that the Antarctic ice sheet mass budget is more complex than indicated by the evolution of its surface mass balance or climate-driven predictions.

Changes in glacier dynamics are significant and may in fact dominate the ice sheet mass budget. This conclusion is contrary to model simulations of the response of the ice sheet to future climate change, which conclude that it will grow due to increased snowfall.

The ice loss is concentrated at narrow glacier outlets with accelerating ice flow, which suggests that glacier flow has altered the mass balance of the entire ice sheet.

Over the 10 year time period of the survey, the ice sheet as a whole was certainly losing mass, and the mass loss increased by 75% during this time. Most of the mass loss is from the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica and the northern tip of the Peninsula where it is driven by ongoing, pronounced glacier acceleration. In East Antarctica, the mass balance is near zero, but the thinning of its potentially vulnerable marine sectors suggests this may change in the near future.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "Increasing Amounts Of Ice Mass Have Been Lost From West Antarctica." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080113143438.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2008, January 14). Increasing Amounts Of Ice Mass Have Been Lost From West Antarctica. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080113143438.htm
University of Bristol. "Increasing Amounts Of Ice Mass Have Been Lost From West Antarctica." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080113143438.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) — Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) — Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins