Do you know how speed the Antarctic Ice is moving?

50 years ago, scientists started to measure the moving speed of Antarctic Ice. Do you want to know how much is that?

Do you know how speed the Antarctic Ice is moving?

The sheet of Antarctic ice is one of Earth's two polar ice caps. It occupies nearly 98 percent of the Antarctic continent and is the largest single ice mass on Earth. This occupies an area of almost 14 million square kilometers and comprises 26.5 million cubic kilometers of ice. A cubic kilometre of ice weighs about a metric giga-ton, which means that the ice sheet weights 26,500,000 giga-tonnes. The Antarctic ice sheet contains about 61 percent of all fresh water on Earth, and volume equal to about 58 m of sea-level rise. The ice sheet in East Antarctica sits on a large land mass, while the bed in West Antarctica can reach to more than 2500 m below sea level.

Fifty years ago glaciologists thought that Antarctica was constantly dumping ice into the sea. We know today that the globe is doing so, and that climate change is accelerating the process, leading to a increase in sea level.

The hypothesis is that the Great Antarctic Ice Shield is collapsing slowly into the sea at a rate of around 330 feet per year. Researchers are setting up special survey stakes to determine how much ice is stored and how much of it falls off the mainland. We tested those survey stakes during their latest trek and calculated the pace at which the ice masses were creeping.

Satellite inspection, which goes back to the early 1990s, has allowed scientists to measure precisely how fast ice moves across the Antarctic. Ice close to the center of the continent today creeps at less than 10 meters per year, while ice along the coast picks up the pace, moving up to a few kilometers per annum. The Arctic is losing ice faster than it can be replaced due to global warming. The island released an average at around 219 billion metric tons of ice per year from 2012 to 2017, compared to 76 billion tons per year over the past two decades. Overall, the Antarctic ice melt between 1992 and 2017 boosted the global sea level by an average of 7.6 millimeters.