Report

Accelerated Sea-Level Rise from West Antarctica

Science  08 Oct 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5694, pp. 255-258
DOI: 10.1126/science.1099650

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Abstract

Recent aircraft and satellite laser altimeter surveys of the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica show that local glaciers are discharging about 250 cubic kilometers of ice per year to the ocean, almost 60% more than is accumulated within their catchment basins. This discharge is sufficient to raise sea level by more than 0.2 millimeters per year. Glacier thinning rates near the coast during 2002–2003 are much larger than those observed during the 1990s. Most of these glaciers flow into floating ice shelves over bedrock up to hundreds of meters deeper than previous estimates, providing exit routes for ice from further inland if ice-sheet collapse is under way.

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