The European Space Agency said on April 3, 2018, that its CryoSat satellite mission has revealed a shifting inward of the grounding lines of ice sheets in Antarctica. Over the last seven years, according to ESA, Antarctica has lost an area of underwater ice nearly the size of Greater London (about 90 miles, or 140 km across, according to Britannica.com). ESA said the grounding lines – the place where the base of Antarctic ice sheets leave the seabed and begin to float – is shifting inward. ESA said:
… warm ocean water beneath the continent’s floating margins is eating away at the ice attached to the seabed.
ESA said that between 2010 and 2017, the Southern Ocean melted about 565 square miles (1463 sq km) of underwater ice. A paper describing these results is published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience. The paper describes how CryoSat was used to map grounding-line motion along nearly 10,000 miles (16,000 km) of Antarctic coastline, over seven years.
Bottom line: Illustration of shifting grounding lines of Antarctic ice sheets, over the last seven years, with data provided by an ESA satellite.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.