Melting of South American Glaciers Leads to Sea-Level Rise

Glaciers in the Patagonia region of southern Argentina and Chile are melting so fast that they are leading to a tiny but notable rise in sea level, U.S. scientists report in the latest issue of the journal Science. The glaciers are melting twice as quickly as they were in 1975, an increase that the researchers attribute to global warming. Between 1995 and 2000, enough ice melted from the Patagonian glaciers to boost sea levels by 0.1 millimeters per year — okay, not enough to drown anyone’s beach home, but, combined with increasing melt from other glaciers around the world, nothing to sneeze at, either. Patagonia’s so-called “calving” glaciers are particularly vulnerable to rising temperatures. “Calving glaciers are more sensitive to climate change once pushed out of equilibrium, and make this region the fastest area of glacial retreat on Earth,” said lead researcher Eric Rignot of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.