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World's Largest Ice Sheets Melting at Fastest Rates in Recorded History

Environment  (tags: animals, climate-change, CO2emissions, ecosystems, endangered, environment, globalwarming, habitatdestruction, healthconditions, nature, oceans, politics, pollution, Sustainabililty )

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Satellite images provide most detailed look yet at scale of devastation caused by human-caused planetary warming.

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Kit B. (276)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 1:22 pm
(Photo: flickr / cc / Christine Zenino)

The world's two largest ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting at the fastest rates ever recorded, according to a new study based on detailed satellite imagery.

Presented by scientists at the Germany-based Alfred Wegener Institute, the new research was conducted with the help of sophisticated mapping technology and the use of an ESA satellite (called CryoSat-2) which used radar technology to generate highly accurate elevation measurements of the ice sheets.

What the detailed look at the ice shows is devastating.

"The volume loss in Greenland has doubled since the [year 2000]," explained AWI glaciologist and co-author of the report Prof. Dr. Angelika Humbert. "The loss of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has in the same time span increased by a factor of three. Combined the two ice sheets are thinning at a rate of 500 cubic kilometres per year. That is the highest speed observed since altimetry satellite records began about 20 years ago."

Speaking with the BBC, Humbert went further, stating: "The contribution of both ice sheets together to sea level rise has doubled since 2009," she said. "To us, that's an incredible number."

The Huffington Post reports:

The glacier melting the fastest among those measured was the Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland and the Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica. The Jakobshavn Glacier is descending into the ocean at a rate of 46 meters -- or half a football field -- each day. Last year, a chunk of ice twice the size of Detroit broke off the tip of the Pine Island Glacier.

Robert Bindschadler of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center recently contributed to a similar study for the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. "Rising sea level is widely regarded as a current and ongoing result of climate change that directly affects hundreds of millions of coastal dwellers around the world and indirectly affects billions more that share its financial costs," he said in a press release. By 2100, ice melt from Antarctica alone could add up to 37 centimeters, or more than 14 inches, to global sea levels.

Another study published in the journal Science this month shows that in the last 20 years, human-caused climate change has become the primary driver of glacial melt.

By: Jon Queally | staff writer | Common Dreams |

Slava R. (1311)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 3:07 pm
noted t.y for sharing Kit

JL A. (287)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 6:08 pm
I also saw a study that was able to measure the melt rates for the last 150+ years that showed similar results and predictions.

Natasha Salgado (660)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 6:54 pm
This is so depressing--the future looking ever more grim with each year. Thanks Kit

Kamia T. (90)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 7:40 pm
All those people paying millions to have their chi-chi beach-front homes may want to rethink. It could be getting much worse, much sooner than originally projected!

Shirley S. (179)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 11:35 pm
In our lakeside area I have noticed lots of waterfront properties being sold as there has been alerts about rising sea levels.

Jonathan Harper (0)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 3:03 am

Hent catalina - maria (100)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 3:09 am

John Gregoire (282)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 4:53 am
I'm so glad I grew up when I did! The world has gone into a death spiral of nastiness and greed, a symptom of which is this sad phenomenon,

Frances Darcy (231)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 5:05 am
sadly noted.

Fi T. (18)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 5:30 am
Start doing something before it's too late

Frank S. (497)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 5:36 am
You need to quit cooking tacos Kit; you are heating up the atmosphere too much! Lol!

Darren Woolsey (199)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 9:27 am
Whilst I am an optimist, the population is increasing and demand for resources has never been greater, so I don't see anything coming along to halt this, unless the smartest brains on planet come together with the richest and begin to do something now.

Carol P. (46)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 9:50 am
Just watched the documentary "Chasing Ice" on Netflix Streaming and thought the video coverage of huge chunks of ice breaking off was amazing. I still wonder how bad it has to get before the masses change their behavior. It isn't as if we haven't know about this for decades.

Connie O. (47)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 10:48 am
bleak outlook...thanks for posting

Panchali Yapa (26)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 11:04 am
Thank you

Lois Jordan (61)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 12:47 pm
Noted. Thanks, Kit. While so many of us try to "do our part" in the small ways we can, it's very difficult to change things on a global scale until we stop using fossil fuels and convert to renewable energy. All of us must continue to press our representatives in Congress for change. We must also continue to share articles like this and get others involved.

Dave C. (235)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 1:02 pm
....a dangerous weather world we are creating......

John Lettieri (4)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 1:11 pm
Get rid of fossil fuels and go to a good renewable source of energy. Atleast this would help the next generation.We should start with Government,congress and senate and Pray.

Stardust Noel (44)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 1:32 pm
Poor animals.....noted & shared

Theresa Robinson (79)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 3:32 pm

Katherine May Williams (0)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 3:43 pm

Dandelion G. (383)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 3:51 pm
Not good and is exactly what Scientist predicted.....but hey, what did they know, they are only Scientist. Just ask a Tea Party elected Official they know everything, or so they think.

Betty K. (312)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 4:06 pm
When those who believe that global warming is a joke go underwater, then I want to hear what they have to say!

marie T. (164)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 4:21 pm
so so sad thank you Kit

Robert B. (60)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 5:23 pm
I just hope we haven't reached the point of no return. It's shameful that the teaparty idiots refuse to acknowledge this serious problem.

John D. (44)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 5:24 pm
If you just listen to Faux Noise you will all know that this climate change is just does not exist...and if you bury your head in the sand or stick it someplace where the sun does not shine you will be just like the repubes on Faux....

Nelson Baker (0)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 5:33 pm
May be nearing the point of no return.

. (0)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 7:37 pm
no no this can't be true. i have a republican friend who says there is no such thing it is the liberals way of controlling us. i have seen shows where the poor polar bears have to swim further and further to find ice.

Jesikka Martiin (0)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 9:47 pm
Oh gosh

Joy Wong (88)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 9:55 pm
Sadly noted. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Donnelly (47)
Monday August 25, 2014, 12:29 am
Noted. Thanks Kit.

Maria Teresa Schollhorn (43)
Monday August 25, 2014, 4:06 am
Very worrying. Thanks Kit.

Lindsay Kemp (1)
Monday August 25, 2014, 5:16 am
Noted - very worrying!

Past Member (0)
Monday August 25, 2014, 6:39 pm
noted thanks

Ana Lopes (92)
Tuesday August 26, 2014, 2:36 am

Craig Pittman (52)
Tuesday August 26, 2014, 4:08 am
Our demand for energy seems insatiable. Not only do we need to ween ourselves from the use of fossil fuels we also need to use less energy. Thanks Kit for helping to bringing this climate change story forward.
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