Don’t Believe the Hype About Antarctica’s Melting Glaciers

Alarming reports that the Antarctic ice sheet is shrinking misrepresent current science to understand a very complex situation. Antarctica has been ice-covered for at least 30 million years. The ice sheet contains about 26.5 million gigatonnes of water (one gigatonne is one billion tons, or about 2.2 trillion pounds). If it melted completely, sea levels would rise 190 feet. Such a change lies many millennia in the future, if it comes at all.

Much less ice loss is normal in Antarctica. Each year, about 2,200 gigatonnes (or 0.01%) of ice is carried away in the form of melt and icebergs, while snowfall adds almost the same amount. The difference between runoff and inflow per year is the annual loss of ice sheet. That number has increased in recent decades, from 40 gigatons per year in the 1980s to 250 gigatons per year in the 2010s. Don’t Believe the Hype About Antarctica’s Melting Glaciers

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