New Report Finds That West Antarctica Is Warming at an Alarming Rate

In a region where melting could contribute *10 feet* of global sea-level rise, new measurements show temperatures ticking up twice as fast as previously thought.

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For more than half a century, scientists at a remote outpost in western Antarctica have been tracking the region’s weather, and a new analysis published in Nature Geoscience comes to alarming conclusions: Temperatures have lept up by 4.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1958 — twice as much as previously thought, making the area one of the fastest-warming in the world.

Should temperatures continue on this path, scientists fear warmer and longer periods of melting for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which could result in a rapid partial collapse, as happened at the Larsen B ice shelf in just one month’s time in 2002. Over the course of hundreds of years, prolonged melting in the region could contribute 10 feet of global sea-level rise.according to The New York Times. For now, though, the mean temperatures during the summer are still below freezing, but, the authors warn that the rising temperatures have “enhanced the probability of extensive melting events” as happened in the region during a period of warm weather in 2005.

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