14 Aug 2009

Antarctic glacier thinning at faster rate, study shows

9:18 pm on 14 August 2009

British research shows one of the largest glaciers in Antarctica is thinning four times faster than it was 10 years ago.

A study of satellite measurements of Pine Island glacier in west Antarctica shows it is now dropping at a rate of up to 16 metres a year, the BBC reports.

The work by British scientists appears in the publication Geophysical Research Letters.

Research leader Professor Duncan Wingham, of University College London, says the rate is unprecedented in this area of Antarctica.

Calculations based on the rate of melting 15 years ago had suggested the glacier would last for 600 years, but the new data points to a lifespan of only another 100 years.