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Ice Melting More Rapidly in Antarctica

The U.S. Geological Survey issued a report on April 3, 2009 finding that glacial ice in Antarctic is melting more rapidly than originally predicted. Noting that Antarctica contains the largest reservoir of glacial ice on the planet, the report points to climate change as the culprit.

In a statement released with the report, the USGS pointed to the importance of climate change in accelerating the loss of glacial ice. “The rapid retreat of glaciers there demonstrates once again the profound effects our planet is already experiencing-more rapidly than previously known– as a consequence of climate change. The scientific work of USGS, which is investigating the impacts of climate change around the world, including an ongoing examination of glaciers, is a critical foundation of the Administration’s commitment to combat climate change.”

Giving more emphasis to the significance of this loss of ice, Jane G. Ferrigno, the lead glaciologist on the study noted: “This continued and often significant glacier retreat is a wakeup call that change is happening in our Earth System and we need to be prepared, Antarctica is of special interest because it holds an estimated 91 percent of the Earth’s glacier volume, and change anywhere in the ice sheet poses significant hazards to society.”