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Antarctica's floating ice shelves are melting away superfast

According to a study, the thickness of Antarctica's floating ice shelves has reduced by 18 per cent in some areas over approximately two decades.

The research team headed by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego built a new high-resolution record of ice shelf thickness based on undertakings of the European Space Agency from 1994 to 2012.

The researchers have recognized changes in ice thickness that occurred over more than a decade, improvement over analyzing data from single missions that give prints of trends.

The study has shown that total ice shelf volume across Antarctica altered very little from 1994 to 2003 and then waned quickly.Throughout the entire observation period, West Antarctic ice shelves lost ice with quicker loss in the current decade. Earlier increases in ice shelf volume of East Antarctic stopped after about 2003.

Although melting ice shelves do not affect the rise in sea level directly, the researchers point out that there is a significant subsidiary effect.

If the current rates of thinning continue, the researchers have evaluated that the ice shelves limiting the uneven sector of West Antarctica could drop to half their volume in the next 200 years.

The study has been published in the journal Science.