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Antarctic melt rate is accelerating

Satellite data confirms melting ice sheets are speeding up rising sea levels

New research by Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado using 25 years of satellite data has shown that the rate of sea levels rising is accelerating due to melting ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland.

At the current rate, the world’s oceans will be on average at least 60cm (2ft) higher by the end of the century, according to research published in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

The research also shows that the pace has quickened. It confirms scientists’ computer simulations and is in line with predictions from the UN, which releases regular climate change reports.

Of the 7.5cm rise in the past 25 years, about 55% is from warmer water expanding, and the rest is from melting ice. The study shows that more than three-quarters of the acceleration since 1993 is due to melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.

To accurately view the effects of man-made climate change, the team behind the study removed natural effects such as climate phenomena El Niño and La Niña, which enabled them to discover the acceleration.