Research: Antarctica’s Melting Ice Will Increase Worldwide Sea Levels

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. in-depth / ɪnˈdɛpθ / (adj) – carefully done or containing important details

    The in-depth study examined different types of plants during a 10-year period.

  2. pile up / pajəlˌʌp / (phrasal) – to expand or rise in amount

    I did not clean my room during the summer, so the dirt piled up in my room.

  3. aerial / ˈerijəl / (adj) – relating to the air

    Birds and bats are examples of aerial animals.

  4. affirm / əˈfɚm / (v) – to confirm something as true

    Other researches supported the findings of the study and affirmed its validity.

  5. turn of the (something) century / tɝːn əv ðə ˈsen.tʃər.i / (idiom) – the end of one century or the beginning of another century

    People speculate that carbon dioxide emissions will be greater at the turn of the 21st century.


Read the text below.

Worldwide sea levels will significantly increase in the coming years because of the melting ice in Antarctica, research claims.

An in-depth four-decade study recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences determined the rate of Antarctica’s ice loss and its effects on sea levels. The researchers examined 18 regions of Antarctica and its surrounding islands. Specifically, comparisons were made between the ice that piled up in Antarctica’s frozen region and the ice that disappeared from the region’s coastal area.

The researchers gathered data from sources, such as satellites and aerial images, which can be traced back to the 1970s.

Findings revealed that the continent’s annual ice loss has increased six times since the 1970s. The researchers found that Antarctica lost about 40 billion tonnes of ice every year from 1970 to 1990. Additionally, the amount of the continent’s annual ice loss spiked to around 252 billion tonnes from 2009 to 2017.

These losses caused worldwide sea levels to rise by approximately 14 millimeters starting 1979.

The researchers believe that climate change triggered by human activities is the main factor behind Antarctica’s ice loss. According to Eric Rignot, one of the researchers, sea levels will continue to rise as long as climate change continues to cause ice loss.

Other studies have affirmed that the melting ice in Antarctica will contribute to the rise in sea levels. In a previous study, the Union of Concerned Scientists said that at the turn of the 21st century, worldwide sea levels will surge by around 6.5 feet.  Similarly, two scientists claimed in a recent research that by 2300, sea levels will possibly be 26 feet higher than their current measurements.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think that more studies should be conducted about the ice loss in Antarctica? Why or why not?
• In your opinion, should scientists look into other factors that possibly contribute to the increase in worldwide sea levels? Explain.

Discussion B

• What other environmental issues do you think scientists should examine (e.g. water pollution, ozone layer depletion)? Why?
• How can experts raise more awareness about these issues?