According to the recent studies conducted by the scientists involved in the study of the ice sheet of Antarctica, the continent is rapidly losing ice at a much-unexpected rate. This rate has drastically increased over the recent years. However, an upcoming research claims to challenge this consensus.
Glaciologist Jay Zwally at the United States Space Agency NASA had previously challenged the same in the year 2015. A paper published in that year brought to light that the ice sheet in Eastern Antarctica was growing at a rate that outweighed the ice sheet loss in Western Antarctica. Zwally has once more claimed that his new research would point out to the fact that the ice gain in Eastern Antarctica, like it was estimated previously, is outweighing the ice loss in Western Antarctica.
The research conducted by a group of eighty researchers indicated that the continent is facing an ice loss of not less than two hundred gigatons per year. The ice loss in Western Antarctica is getting triggered by the warm underground ocean waters. According to the scientists, loss of ice in Western Antarctica has increased drastically over the years. However, the ice sheet estimations in Eastern Antarctica are surrounded by high uncertainty levels. The lead author of the study, Prof. Andrew Shepherd from the University of Leeds said, “In our study, East Antarctic remains the least certain part of Antarctica for sure.” The researcher added, “Although there is relatively large variability over shorter periods, we don’t detect any significant long-term trend over 25 years.”
However, according to Zwally, his new paper would tend to show that the ice gain in Eastern Antarctica would almost balance off the ice loss in Western Antarctica.
There are many reasons for the varying inferences in the research performed by Zwally and the study performed by the eighty researchers. The major difference is the way in which the researchers make the Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) that considers Earth’s movement under the thick ice sheets. Shepherd said in a statement, “There are several potential reasons for the remaining disagreement among the various satellite techniques, such as the models we use to account for snowfall and glacial isostatic adjustment.”