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Antarctica Gaining More Snow Than It Melts November 6, 2015
Antarctic ice change graphic
Map showing the rates of mass changes over Antarctica from 2003 to 2008.
Some Antarctic ice sheets have been found to be growing faster than others are shrinking on the frozen continent.

The NASA finding seems to contradict earlier studies that suggested melting Antarctic glaciers are contributing to global sea level rise.

“We’re essentially in agreement with other studies that show an increase in ice discharge in the Antarctic Peninsula and the Thwaites and Pine Island region of West Antarctica,” lead study author and glaciologist Jay Zwally said in a NASA Goddard press release.

“Our main disagreement is for East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica; there, we see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas.”

A separate British Antarctic Survey study concludes that the greater snowfall that forms the ice cap is likely a result of heightened storm activity over warmer ocean waters surrounding Antarctica.

Other studies suggest the warming Southern Ocean waters will melt the coastal fringes of ice sheets that currently block interior glaciers from flowing into the sea.

Should those “dams” break, other studies say that some Antarctic ice shelfs will collapse, flow into the Southern Ocean and cause significant sea level rise.

Photo: NASA