NASA Satellites Paint Grim Picture For The Future of Antarctica’s Ice Shelves

In the 64 years, that NASA has existed Administrators of the agency were forced to answer the much-discussed what’s the point? question.

What’s the purpose, of lawmakers and taxpayers inquiring to spend on space, when there are many issues on Earth? NASA has always offered a quick response by pointing to the many different generations of Earth-observing satellites that they have launched, which have kept a close eye on the climate, weather erosion of land and many other things.

The only thing the agency hasn’t said was that it’d be interested in what the satellites reveal to us. 

This week as NASA announces, the results from space regarding the state of the Earth have been particularly troubling.

In two papers–one published in Nature and the other within Earth System Science Data–scientists looked at 25 years of observations from seven American and European satellites that are monitoring the Antarctic and came up with terrible news to report.

According to the paper the loss of mass from Antarctica’s ice shelves, or ice that extends past the coastline has been more than twice the size previously thought. 

Since 1997 12 million metric tons of ice have disappeared, the research illustrates, in contrast, comparison to six million thought to be.

“Antarctica is breaking apart around its borders,” Chad Greene, an assistant professor at Caltech’s and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a co-author on the Nature paper released in an announcement.