Polar ice in West Antarctica is depleting at twice the rate previously thought, a new report has claimed.
The news comes via a recent study by researchers from Ohio State University and the US National Center for Atmospheric Research. The report noted that the average temperature at West Antarctica’s Byrd research station has increased by 2.4°C over the past 60 years.
Experts say the findings raise concerns about the rise of sea levels around the world, noting that the accelerated ice melt could significantly speed up the process.
According to the report, sea levels would rise by a minimum of 3.3 metres if all the ice in West Antarctica disappears. Entire countries, such as Tuvalu and Bangladesh, as well coastal urban centres such as Shanghai, London and San Francisco, would be at a high risk of devastation. However, such a dramatic change is likely to take centuries, experts say.
Over the last 100 years, global sea levels have risen by around 20cm. Ice melt in Greenland currently plays the largest part, accounting for a rise of about 0.7mm annually, whilst that of West Antarctica creates a rise of about 0.3mm per year.