UCI News

UCI study shows major glacial loss in W. Antarctica

Six massive glaciers in West Antarctica are moving faster than they did 40 years ago, causing more ice to discharge into the ocean and raising the global sea level, according to new UC Irvine-led research reported in Geophysical Research Letters.

March 26, 2014

Six massive glaciers in West Antarctica are moving faster than they did 40 years ago, causing more ice to discharge into the ocean and raising the global sea level, according to new UC Irvine research reported in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. The amount of ice draining collectively from the half-dozen glaciers increased by 77 percent between 1973 and 2013, said co-author Jeremie Mouginot, a UC Irvine glaciologist. Almost 10 percent of the world’s sea level rise per year comes from just these six glaciers, he added. “What we found was a sustained increase in ice discharge—which has a significant impact on sea level rise,” Mouginot said. If the glaciers melted completely, the global sea level would rise another 4 feet, according to co-author and UC Irvine professor Eric Rignot.