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Polar ice loss is alarming scientists.
Ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland are now being depleted at an astonishing rate of 120 cubic miles each year.
A European Space Agency probe, using data from CryoSat-2, has been measuring the thickness of the planet’s ice sheets and glaciers since it was launched in 2010.
Even more alarming, the rate of loss of ice from the two regions has more than doubled since 2009, revealing the dramatic impact that climate change is beginning to have on our world, according to The Observer.
Researchers, based at Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research – used 200m data points across Antarctica and 14.3m across Greenland, all collected by CryoSat, to study how the ice sheets there had changed over the past three years.
The satellite carries a high-precision altimeter, which sends out short radar pulses that bounce off the ice surface and then back to the satellite. By measuring the time this takes, the height of the ice beneath the spacecraft can be calculated.
It was found from the average drops in elevation that were detected by CryoSat that Greenland alone is losing about 90 cubic miles a year, while in Antarctica the annual volume loss is about 30 cubic miles.
These rates of loss – described as “incredible” by one researcher – are the highest observed since altimetry satellite records began about 20 years ago, and they mean that the ice sheets’ annual contribution to sea-level rise has doubled since 2009, say the researchers whose work was published in the journal Cryosphere last week.
More from: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/24/incredible-polar-ice-loss-cryosat-antarctica-greenland?guni=Keyword:news-grid%20main-2%20(Discover)%20Pickable%20with%20editable%20override:Pickable%20with%20editable%20override:Position2.