A new NASA-led study has determined that an increase in snowfall accumulation over Antarctica during the 20th century mitigated sea level rise by 0.4 inches. However, Antarctica’s additional ice mass gained from snowfall makes up for just about a third of its current ice loss.
“Our findings don’t mean that Antarctica is growing; it’s still losing mass, even with the extra snowfall,” said Brooke Medley, a glaciologist with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study, which was published in Nature Climate Change on Dec. 10. “What it means, however, is that without these gains, we would have experienced even more sea level rise in the 20th century.”
The polar ice sheets grow via snow accumulation and shrink through melting and the production of icebergs. Presently, both ice sheets are imbalanced –losing more ice annually than they are gaining– and their ice loss is estimated to be currently causing about a half of the observed sea level rise. Sea level adjusts to changes in snowfall, which modulates how much water is locked into the ice sheets.
A new NASA-led study has determined that an increase in snowfall accumulation over Antarctica during the
Original Title: Antarctica's contribution to sea level rise was mitigated by snowfall
Full Text of the Original Article: https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2836/