Study: Antarctic glaciers melting faster than thought

Looked at another way, it's more weight than 312,000 Empire State Buildings.

"We didn't realize it was moving that fast," he said.

Summerhayes said sea levels will climb higher than predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,

A 2007 report by the IPCC predicted a sea level rise of 7 to 23 inches by the end of the century, which could flood low-lying areas and force millions of people to relocate.

The group said an additional 3.9- to 7.8-inch increase in sea levels was possible if the recent, surprising melting of polar ice sheets continues.

New research published this month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters found that melting glaciers will add at least 7 inches to the world's sea level — and that's if carbon dioxide pollution is quickly capped and then reduced.

Far more likely is an increase of at least 15 inches and probably more just from melting glaciers, the journal said.

Until recently, scientists debated whether Antarctica was warming.

But a January study in the journal Nature found that Antarctica's average annual temperature has increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit since 1957, but is still 50 degrees below zero.

The report also determined that autumn temperatures in east Antarctica were cooling over the long term.

International Polar Year researchers found that the southern ocean around Antarctica has warmed about 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit in the past decade, double the average warming of the rest of the Earth's oceans over the past 30 years.

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