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Recent research published by British Antarctic Survey and the Australian National University shows that Antarctic ice is melting ten times faster than 600 years ago. Taking a core sample of ice near the northern peninsula, they were able to observe the rates of melt in recent centuries, finding that temperatures today are 1.6 degrees Celsius higher. The most rapid melt has occurred within the last 50 years, having an incredible impact on the region.

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Increased summer melting due to higher temperatures has been responsible for the intense melting of the Antarctic.

“A lot of changes have happened in the last 50 years … there has been ice shelves [that have] collapsed, there’s been glaciers flowing faster and losing more mass, [and] more ice into the oceans,” said lead author of the report, Dr Nerilie Abram from the Australian National University. “To have this record that shows that even just a small amount of temperature increase now can cause a large increase in melt in this area is reason for concern,” she said.

Many climate scientists attribute the increase in overall global temperature to the release of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Measurement tracking the ice melt in the Arctic and Antarctic are producing visual evidence of drastic melting. The frozen poles of the planet are major contributors to weather patterns worldwide, and the lack of ice could aid in producing stronger storms and more intense droughts. With the International Energy Agency warning that irreversible climate change could occur within the next four to five years unless infrastructure undergoes a major overhaul, the research out of the South Pole should be a wake-up call to governments and communities across the planet.

+ Australian National University/British Antarctic Survey

Via ABC News

Images via the British Antarctic Survey