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2013-03-13. Warm Ocean, Not Icebergs, Causing Most of Antarctic Ice Shelves' Mass Loss.

posted Jun 13, 2013, 3:16 PM by Alan Gould

For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpt:  Ocean waters melting the undersides of Antarctic ice shelves are responsible for most of the continent's ice shelf mass loss, a new study by NASA and university researchers has found. ...the rates of basal melt, or the melting of the ice shelves from underneath, ...accounted for 55 percent of all Antarctic ice shelf mass loss from 2003 to 2008, an amount much higher than previously thought. Antarctica holds about 60 percent of the planet's fresh water locked into its massive ice sheet. ...Determining how ice shelves melt will help scientists improve projections of how the Antarctic ice sheet will respond to a warming ocean and contribute to sea level rise.  ...In some places, basal melt exceeds iceberg calving. In other places, the opposite is true. But in total, Antarctic ice shelves lost 2,921 trillion pounds (1,325 trillion kilograms) of ice per year in 2003-2008 through basal melt, while iceberg formation accounted for 2,400 trillion pounds (1,089 trillion kilograms) of mass loss each year. ...For images related to this release, please visit: http://go.nasa.gov/175OAkF .... http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2013/jun/HQ_13-183_Melting_Ice_Shelves.html. NASA Release 13-183.