Antarctica holds about 90 percent of the Earth’s ice, so it’s a bit problematic that the continent seems to be melting faster than expected. Not only is large-scale ice loss more widespread than thought, but the rate of meltiness has accelerated over the last decade, says a study in the journal Nature Geoscience. The West Antarctic ice sheet lost about 132 billion tons of ice in 2006, compared to some 83 billion tons of ice in 1996. Unfortunately, many computer models of future climate impacts assume that Antarctic ice levels will be stable — and thus may underestimate sea-level rise.
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