Published on 23 February 2021
Using a 25-year record of satellite observations over the Getz region in West Antarctica, scientists have discovered that the pace at which glaciers flow towards the ocean is accelerating. This new research, which includes data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission and ESA’s CryoSat mission, will help determine if these glaciers could collapse in the next few decades and how this would affect future global sea-level rise.
Ice lost from Antarctica frequently hits the headlines, but this is the first time that scientists have studied this particular area in depth.
Led by scientists at the University of Leeds in the UK, the new research shows that between 1994 and 2018, all 14 glaciers in Getz accelerated, on average, by almost 25%, with three glaciers accelerating by over 44%.
The results, published today in Nature Communications, also reported that the glaciers lost a total of 315 gigatonnes of ice, adding 0.9 mm to global mean sea level – equivalent to 126 million Olympic swimming pools of water.