News & AnalysisGLACIOLOGY

Experts Agree Global Warming Is Melting the World Rapidly

Science  30 Nov 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6111, pp. 1138
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6111.1138

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Summary

Forty-seven glaciologists have arrived at a community consensus over all the data on what the past century's warming has done to the great ice sheets: a current annual loss of 344 billion tons of glacial ice, accounting for 20% of current sea level rise. Greenland's share—about 263 billion tons—is roughly what most researchers expected, but Antarctica's represents the first agreement on a rate that had ranged from a far larger loss to an actual gain. The new analysis, published on page 1183 of this week's issue of Science, also makes it clear that losses from Greenland and West Antarctica have been accelerating, showing that some ice sheets are disconcertingly sensitive to warming.