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Antarctic ice shelves are melting dramatically

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Scientists have their best view yet of the status of Antarctica's floating ice shelves and they find them to be thinning at an accelerating rate.

Fernando Paolo and colleagues used 18 years of data from European radar satellites to compile their assessment.

In the first half of that period, the total losses from these tongues of ice that jut out from the continent amounted to 25 cubic km per year.

But by the second half, this had jumped to 310 cubic km per annum.

"For the decade before 2003, ice-shelf volume for all Antarctica did not change much," said Mr Paolo from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, US.

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