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Mon May 4, 2020, 05:23 AM

NASA Space Lasers Offer 'Fantastically Detailed' Look at the World's Ice Loss

By Yessenia Funes on 04 May 2020 at 3:00AM

The ice sheets are melting, and a new study research relies on state-of-the-art technology to reveal where the biggest losses are happening. Itís pretty freaking cool even if the results are bad news.

The findings, published in Science on Thursday, use space lasers to create a detailed view of the planetís biggest pieces of ice. The team of researchers, which includes scientists from NASA and the University of Washington, looked at ice mass change from 2003 to 2019 to get a sense of how global warming is affecting these critical ice sheets.

The findings show increased snow accumulation isnít enough to offset massive ice losses in Greenland and Antarctica. Greenland has shed an average of 200 gigatonnes of ice a year, and Antarctica has lost an average of 118 gigatonnes of ice a year. Thatís contributed to more than half an inch of sea level rise over the past 16 years alone, a rate that is expected to accelerate and affect our numerous cities and infrastructure located on the coast.

Previous studies have shown that sea-level rise may cause extreme floods to happen daily in most of the U.S. coast by the end of the century. By 2050, we may be bidding farewell to our beloved beaches as well. But to refine our understanding of the future, scientists need to understand whatís going with ice sheets today.


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