Antarctica has lost almost 3 trillion tonnes of ice since 1992

Experts fear the future may be grim if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated

The findings show that before 2012, Antarctica lost ice at a steady rate of 76 billion tonnes per year - a 0.2mm per year contribution to sea level rise. But what concerns scientists is the balance of how much snow and ice accumulates in a given year versus the amount that is lost.

Altogether, in those 25 years, Antarctica has lost more than a trillion tonnes of ice.

Scientists have acknowledged that these sad results surpassed their expectations.

"To see a threefold increase just since 2012 - that's disturbing to me", said Brenda Ekwurzel, director of climate science for the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "We took all the estimates across all the different techniques, and we got this consensus", Isabella Velicogna, a professor at the University of California, Irvine and an author of the study, told the Washington Post.

Unlike the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, though, it's been resistant to melt as conditions warm.

The measurements are vital information for the almost eight billion of us who don't live on Antarctica, because they allow scientists to compute sea level rise rates and contributions. The Antarctic Peninsula is also shedding ice, though at a less rapid clip, while East Antarctica has remained fairly steady.

The vast majority of the ice loss is occurring in West Antarctica where warm water is intruding under glaciers and causing them to become more unstable with each passing year.

They discovered the acceleration in the rate of ice loss when they did the calculations again for this study, this time with an additional five years of data. Marine-based ice very well could and in fact is already starting to contribute, and that alone holds an estimated 20 meters of sea level rise. 'There are no other plausible signals to be driving this other than climate change'.

A remote survey discovered 91 volcanoes ranging in height from 100m to 3,850m in a massive region known as the West Antarctic Rift System.

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In total, sea levels have risen about 8cm since 1992. This roughly suggests that Antarctica glacial melting is now adding about 0.5 millimeters per year to sea level rise.

In April, a team of United Kingdom researchers released a report saying that underwater glaciers in Antarctica are melting at an "alarming rate".

Scientists believe a mantle plume exists underneath Antarctica's Marie Byrd Land explaining the well-documented instability and weakness of the ice sheet today.

Scientists have previously raised fears about a scenario in which ice loss from Antarctica takes on a rate of explosive growth.

"We appear to be on a pathway to substantial ice-sheet loss in the decades ahead, with longer term consequences for enhanced sea level rise. But remember for the northern hemisphere, for North America, the fact that the location in West Antarctica is where the action is amplifies that rate of sea level rise by up to an about additional 25 percent in a city like Boston or NY".

"According to our analysis, there has been a steep increase in ice losses from Antarctica during the last decade, and the continent is causing sea levels to rise faster today than at any time in the past 25 years", said Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds, UK, who led the assessment.

Even more grim, a half-century of high emissions by this point would have locked in more than 10 metres (33 ft) of future sea level rise in coming millennia - and could potentially lead to more than 50 metres of sea level rise over the next 10,000 years.

They also highlight the existential threat facing low-lying coastal cities and communities home to hundreds of millions of people.

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