Antarctica is actually gaining ice: NASA

By Money Times

Nov 04, 2015 12:38 AM EST

The U.S. space agency NASA claimed that the mass gain for Antarctic ice is greater than the loss suffered from melting.

The latest study of NASA doesn't deny that ice mass in Antarctica is melting at an increased rate as a result of global warming but suggests ice mass gains outweigh the losses.

According to The Times Gazette, the study examined the surface height of Antarctic ice measured by altimeters on the radar on two satellites from European Space Agency and European Remote Sensing Agency.

NASA researchers analyzed data from the satellites and estimated the Antarctic ice sheet had a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice per year from 1992 to 2001. This net gain slowed down to 82 billion tons per year from 2003 to 2008.

The research concluded that the ice mass gains in East Antarctica are due to recent increases in snow accumulation. The extra snowfall began at the end of last Ice Age 10,000 years ago.

The snow has been accumulating on the ice sheet and compacting into solid ice, thickening the ice in East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica by an average of 0.7 inches per year.

The report challenges conclusions reached by other studies including the report by the U.S. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2013 which stated that Antarctic was losing ice mass of 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise to a melting Antarctica.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Lead Researcher Jay Zwally stated, as reported on Quartz, that the researchers are essentially in agreement with other studies that shown an increase in ice discharge in the Antartic Peninsula and the Thwaites and Pine Island region of West Antarctica.

Zwally asserted that his main disagreement is for East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica where the ice gain exceeds the losses in the other areas.

Jay Zwally argued, as reported on Dailymail, that Antarctica  is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away.

Zwally added that if the 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise in the IPCC report is not really coming from Antarctica, then there must be other contribution to the sea level rise. Researchers are not sure about the other contribution to be accounted for.

Research also warned that Antartica's growth could reverse within few decades. The ice losses will catch up with the long-term gain in about 20 to 30 years. The ice gain will not be enough to outweigh the losses.

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