Environmental, Health and Safety

Video: Antarctic Ice Loss Tripled Since 2012

14 June 2018

Ice losses from Antarctica have tripled since 2012, according to a major new international climate assessment funded by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). The trend has increased global sea levels by 0.12 in. (3 mm) in that time frame alone. Since 2012, the amount of ice loss per year has tripled to 241.4 billion tons (219 billion metric tons).

Analysis of the mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet from 1992 to 2017 revealed ice losses from Antarctica raised global sea levels by 0.3 in. (7.6 mm), with a sharp uptick in ice loss in recent years. The threefold Source: ESASource: ESAincrease in ice loss from the continent since 2012 is attributed to a combination of increased rates of ice melt in west Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula, and reduced growth of the east Antarctic ice sheet.

West Antarctica experienced the biggest ice loss, going from a loss of 58.4 billion tons (53 billion metric tons) per year in the 1990s to 175.3 billion tons (159 billion metric tons) per year since 2012. Most of this is due to the rapid retreat of the Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier, owing to warmer seawater under their floating shelves.

The researchers concluded that Antarctica's potential contribution to global sea level rise from its land-held ice is almost 7.5 times greater than all other sources of land-held ice in the world combined. The continent stores enough frozen water to raise global sea levels by 190 ft. (58 m) if it were to melt entirely.

The analysis, which combined 24 satellite surveys of Antarctica and involved 80 scientists from 42 international organizations, is published in Nature.

To contact the author of this article, email sue.himmelstein@ieeeglobalspec.com

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Discussion – 7 comments

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Re: Video: Antarctic Ice Loss Tripled Since 2012
2018-Jun-14 4:32 PM

Wow! 190 feet of sea level rise is staggering!

This is sobering news for everyone, unless you believe that Earth is only 6,000 years old.

Those alive today, their offspring and generations of offspring may not be adversely affected.

However, coastal Naval and military bases are already seeing the sea levels rise in many places. Little to nothing is being done and NASA's Earth climate satellite study budget has been decimated.

Not until an administration is put in place that believes in, and uses science as a tool, and not until an administration is put in place that values human lives over corporate profits will we see any effort to mitigate the warming and the damage it is, and will, cause.

Re: Video: Antarctic Ice Loss Tripled Since 2012
In reply to #1
2018-Jun-14 9:27 PM

It really is only a small but well connected group of deniers who refuse to acknowledge why this is happening. The real crux of the problem is a three fold problem of circumstance.

  1. The lack of immediate alternatives.
  2. The long lag between action and reaction.
  3. NIMBY based self centeredness.

I know, I know. We're preaching to the choir or at least you and I to each other right now. Any moment now, the naysayers will swarm in thumping their Puritanical chests like razorback gorillas trying to attract a mate.

Re: Video: Antarctic Ice Loss Tripled Since 2012
In reply to #3
2018-Jun-14 10:33 PM

At least some (3) of the most obnoxious gorillas are no longer on here.

None of the remedies are easy, nor inexpensive.

Ignorance may be bliss, but it can also be fatal.

Re: Video: Antarctic Ice Loss Tripled Since 2012
2018-Jun-14 9:09 PM

I wonder what might be causing this ice loss?

Re: Video: Antarctic Ice Loss Tripled Since 2012
2018-Jun-16 11:07 PM

Any validity here?


appears to be another radical conservative propaganda machine, based in the heart of KKK land, Alabama.

Not sure if the name is related to the bird of the same name.

Re: Video: Antarctic Ice Loss Tripled Since 2012
In reply to #5
2018-Jun-17 10:16 AM

This is classic denial propaganda. The article by Michael Bastasch discusses a paper by Jay Zwally that has yet to be released. <Translation> This article contains no factual information.

The article claims the main reason the yet to be released paper differs from consensus papers is that it uses a different adjustment of the Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (a fudge factor) for how much the Earth under this ice moves due to a load change. Nowhere in this brief hatchet job of an article about a paper that may or may not one day exist is there any mention of either the measurements or assumptions one must take to reach any conclusion.

A quick Google search for Jay Zwally shows that H. Jay Zwally is a glaciologist with NASA and that he along with others wrote just such a paper and published it back in July 2017.

Mass Gains of the Antarctic Ice Sheet Exceed Losses. H. Jay Zwally et al. in Journal of Glaciology, Vol. 61, No. 230, pages 1019–1036. Published online July 10, 2017.

I found this information by reading the much more thorough article by the Scientific American author, Shannon Hall. This article in particular and others I read about H. Jay Zwally's paper, but do not cite here, lead me to a few conclusions:

  • Michael Bastasch is a biased hack of a reporter that should not be trusted to tell any truth, ever. He cannot perform the most rudimentary of corroboration efforts before posting a story he likes. He states a nearly year old scientific publication is actually unpublished. I suspect Mr. Bastach's typical readers are similarly incapable of thinking for themselves. Mr. Bastach might be discussing a second paper on the identical topic but that would be very unusual after publishing a comprehensive 17 page report.
  • The internet does work very well for those who do think and put in the simple effort to expose bald faced lies.
  • H. Jay Zwally is a well respected glaciologist. He has earned this respect by accurately reporting the details of his studies, including the necessary assumptions required to reach a conclusion from the research performed.
  • NASA does not have a politically biased climate change agenda. NASA neither promotes nor impedes a publication based on any conclusion drawn.
  • The fact that one scientific paper appears to a layman as a refutation of the preponderance of other scientific papers is actually an indictment of the layman's grasp of science and not the science itself.

To paraphrase Shannon Hall's conclusion, a scientific outlier ultimately ends up reinforcing science by showing where the flaws lie regardless of bias.

Re: Video: Antarctic Ice Loss Tripled Since 2012
In reply to #6
2018-Jun-17 11:14 AM


Great assessment. It always amazes my how one renegade, or even a few can sway so many gullible people.

Now, we are at a severe disadvantage with the new administration falsely claiming that science is a waste of money. Amazingly, this is one of the few things they seem to not have changed their opinion on every week.

Happy Father's Day!

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