The rate at which the Antarctic ice sheets are melting has trebled over the past decade, research shows (writes Oliver Moody). Images taken from space over the past quarter of a century show that the vast ice shelves in the west of the continent are beginning to collapse and break up, leaking about 160 billion tonnes of water into the oceans and pushing up sea levels at a rate of 6mm per decade.

Scientists said that the findings, in the journal Nature, were “deeply concerning” evidence that global warming was damaging Antarctica. Since 1992, when satellites began routine monitoring, 3 trillion tonnes of all Antarctic ice have melted, adding 7.6mm to sea levels. Nearly half of that rise has taken place since 2012.

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