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Three Trillion Tonnes of Ice Lost from Antarctica Since 1992

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Antarctica has lost about 3 trillion tonnes of ice since 1992, enough to raise global sea levels by 8 mm, according to a report published in Nature (

Antarctica’s ice sheets contain enough water to raise global sea level by 58 metres. Understanding the current ice-sheet mass balance — the net balance of mass gains and losses — is key to estimating potential future changes in ice-sheet mass as the global climate warms. More than 150 calculations of ice-mass loss from Antarctica have been made since 1989.

Using 24 different satellite-based estimates, an international team of researchers found that warm oceans have driven a tripling of ice loss – from 53 billion to 159 billion tonnes per year – in Western Antarctica between 1992 and 2017.

Ice loss on the Antarctic Peninsula alone increased from about 7 billion to 33 billion tonnes per year. However, East Antarctica’s mass balance remains highly uncertain and is indistinguishable from zero.

A separate report in Nature ( led by Dr Steve Rintoul of CSIRO’s Centre for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research explored how Antarctica and the Southern Ocean will change over the next 50 years depending on greenhouse gas emissions...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.