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A record start to summer ice melt in Greenland this year has drawn attention to the northern ice sheet. We will have to wait to see if 2019 continues to break ice-melt records, but in the rapidly warming Arctic the long-term trends of ice loss are clear.
But what about at the other icy end of the planet?
Antarctica - Icy - Giant - Counterpart - Water
Antarctica is an icy giant compared to its northern counterpart. The water frozen in the Greenland ice sheet is equivalent to around 7 metres of potential sea level rise. In the Antarctic ice sheet there are around 58 metres of sea-level rise currently locked away.
Like Greenland, the Antarctic ice sheet is losing ice and contributing to unabated global sea level rise. But there are worrying signs Antarctica is changing faster than expected and in places previously thought to be protected from rapid change.
Antarctic - Peninsula—the - Part - Antarctic - Continent—air
On the Antarctic Peninsula—the most northerly part of the Antarctic continent—air temperatures over the past century have risen faster than any other place in the Southern Hemisphere. Summer melting already happens on the Antarctic Peninsula between 25 and 80 days each year. The number of melt days will rise by at least 50 percent when global warming hits the soon-to-be-reached 1.5℃ limit set out in the Paris Agreement, with some predictions pointing to as much as a 150 percent increase in melt days.
But the main threat to the Antarctic ice sheet doesn't come from above. What threatens to truly transform this vast icy continent lies beneath, where warming ocean waters (and the vast heat carrying capacity of seawater) have the potential to melt ice at an unprecedented rate.
Percent - Heat - Activities - Earth - Industrial
Almost all (around 93 percent) of the extra heat human activities have caused to accumulate on Earth since the Industrial Revolution lies within the ocean. And a large majority of this has been taken into...
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