Two new satellite surveys show that warming air and water are causing Antarctica to lose ice faster than it can be replenished by interior snowfall, and thus are contributing to rising global sea levels. The studies differed significantly in estimates of how much water was being added to the oceans this way, but their authors both said that the work added credence to recent conclusions that global warming caused by humans was likely to lead to higher sea levels than previous studies had predicted. The earlier projections presumed that snowfall over Antarctica, as well as Greenland, would increase as warming added moisture to the air, compensating for the losses of ice from crumbling or melting along coasts. Several independent experts agreed with the new conclusions, saying they meshed both with more localized studies of trends in Antarctica and with evidence from warm spells before the last ice age. “Snowfall will matter less and less,” said Robert Bindschadler, an expert on polar ice at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration who was not involved in either study. “We know that warmer climates eventually lead to less ice.” Most of the ice is being lost in western […]

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