News of the WeekClimate Change

Both of the World's Ice Sheets May Be Shrinking Faster and Faster

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Science  09 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5950, pp. 217
DOI: 10.1126/science.326_217a

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The two great ice sheets—Greenland's and Antarctica's—have had plenty of press lately, what with galloping glaciers and whole lakes of meltwater plunging into ice holes in minutes. Surveys of ice-sheet volume made from planes and satellites have quantified these losses, but those assessments have been spotty in time, space, or both. Shrinkage accelerated from the 1990s into the 2000s, but researchers couldn't be sure what would come next. Now the latest analysis of the most comprehensive, essentially continuous monitoring of the ice sheets shows that the losses have not eased in the past few years.