More than 40% of Antarctica’s ice shelves have shrunk since 1997 with almost half showing “no sign of recovery”, a study has found, linking the change to the climate breakdown.
Scientists at the University of Leeds have calculated that 67tn tonnes of ice was lost in the west while 59tn tonnes was added to the east between 1997 and 2021, resulting in a net loss of 7.5tn tonnes.
The Antarctic ice sheet is one of the two polar ice caps of Earth. It covers about 98% of the Antarctic continent and is the largest single mass of ice on Earth, with an average thickness of over 2 kilometers. Separate to the Antarctic sea ice it covers an area of almost 14 million square kilometres (5.4 million square miles) and contains 26.5 million cubic kilometres (6,400,000 cubic miles) of ice. A cubic kilometer of ice weighs approximately 0.92 metric gigatonnes, meaning that the ice sheet weighs about 24,380,000 gigatonnes.
A gigatonne is 1,000,000,000 tonnes.
24,380,000,000,000,000 tonnes. And 7,500,000,000,000 tonnes.
0.04%. Yes, it’s time to panic, isn’t it.