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Shrinking Antarctic ice proves scientists wrong

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  • npat1
    Fw: [fuelcell-energy] ... Shrinking Antarctic ice proves scientists wrong By Mark Henderson, Science Correspondent THE Antarctic ice sheet, which holds 70 per
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 3, 2006
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      Fw: [fuelcell-energy]
      ---------- Forwarded Message ----------
      Shrinking Antarctic ice proves scientists wrong
      By Mark Henderson, Science Correspondent

      THE Antarctic ice sheet, which holds 70 per cent of the world's fresh
      water, has thinned significantly in the past four years, the first
      observations from a pair of satellites show.

      The frozen continent is shedding about 36 cubic miles (152 cu km) of
      ice every year � enough to supply Los Angeles with water for 36
      years � according to research suggesting that sea levels could rise
      more rapidly than predicted.

      Scientists had expected that over the coming century global warming
      would increase the size of the Antarctic ice sheet, as higher
      temperatures brought increased snowfall, but the new data suggest
      that it is losing mass.

      The findings, from the satellites of the Gravity Recovery and Climate
      Experiment (Grace) begun in 2002, are a concern because the ice sheet
      would increase sea levels by as much as 45m (150ft) were it all
      released. The West Antarctic ice sheet, where the bulk of the melting
      is taking place, holds water that would raise the sea level by more
      than 6m (20ft). The East Antarctic sheet, which is eight times
      larger, appears to be more stable.

      The results indicate that rising temperatures are having a major
      impact on both ice caps: two weeks ago, a separate study found that
      the amount of ice dumped into the ocean by glaciers in Greenland had
      doubled over five years.

      The Grace experiment is the first to involve a comprehensive survey
      of the Antarctic ice sheet, the first results of which are published
      today in the journal Science. It uses two satellites to detect minute
      changes in the Earth's gravity field, which is influenced by the
      amount of ice locked in the polar cap.

      It found that the volume of ice being lost from the ice sheet, which
      is up to 2,000m thick, is raising global sea levels by 0.4mm a year.
      Melting ice from Greenland is contributing another 0.5mm to sea level
      rise.

      "This is the first study to indicate the total mass balance of the
      Antarctic ice sheet is in significant decline," said Isabella
      Velicogna, of the University of Colorado at Boulder, who led the
      research.

      "The overall balance of the Antarctic ice is dependent on regional
      changes in the interior and those in coastal areas. The changes we
      are seeing are probably a good indicator of the changing climactic
      conditions there."

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2066926,00.html

      http://tinyurl.com/hd8oz
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