As the latest analysis of satellite data shows, concerns about ice loss are spreading rapidly into the interior of Antarctica. A warming of the Southern Ocean is causing the Antarctic glaciers to melt more and more rapidly. And ice is now being lost five times faster than in the nineties.
The ice sheet of West Antarctica remained stable in 1992, but up to a quarter of its size is shrinking.
And more than 320 feet (100 m) thick of ice has been lost in the most affected places.
The annihilation of the ice sheet of West Antarctica would drive sea levels to approximately five meters, decimating coastal cities around the world.
Current losses are doubling every decade, scientists said, and sea level rise is now running at the end of even the most recent estimates.
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The latest study compared 800 million satellite measurements of the height of the ice sheet from 1992 to 2017 with meteorological information.
This distinguishes short-term changes due to variable snowfall due to long-term changes due to climate.
Professor Andy Shepherd, of the University of Leeds, who led the study, said: "Since the beginning of the 1990s, weight loss has progressively spread inland over the past 25 years, which is rapid in glaciological terms.
"The speed of extracting ice from a layer of ice used to be spoken on geological time scales, but now it has been replaced by people's lives."
Professor Shepherd added that the thinning of some ice streams had extended 300 miles inland along its 600-mile length.
He said: "More than 50 percent of the glacier basins of the Pine and Thwaites islands have been affected by thinning over the past 25 years.
"We're halfway there and that's a concern."
The researchers already knew that ice was being lost in West Antarctica, but the new work indicates where it is happening and how quickly.
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This will allow for more accurate projections of sea level increases and can help prepare for these increases.
In the recent past, the snow that fell on the glaciers of Antarctica balanced the ice lost when the icebergs flowed into the ocean.
But now glaciers flow faster than snow can replace them.
Professor Shepherd added: "In parts of Antarctica, the ice sheet has thinned in extraordinary quantities."