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Antarctica's Denman Glacier melted 3 miles in 22 years

It’s getting warmer down at the bottom of the world.

As the global climate heats up, some of the great ice sheets and glaciers in Antarctica are melting, a few of them rapidly. One, East Antarctica’s Denman glacier, has retreated nearly 3 miles in just the past 22 years, according to a new study

Researchers are concerned that the shape of the ground surface under the ice sheet could make it even more susceptible to a climate-driven collapse. “If fully thawed, the ice in Denman would cause sea levels worldwide to rise almost 5 feet,” the University of California-Irvine said in a statement.

“East Antarctica has long been thought to be less threatened (than West Antarctica), but as glaciers such as Denman have come under closer scrutiny by the cryosphere science community, we are now beginning to see evidence of potential marine ice sheet instability in this region,” said study co-author Eric Rignot, a scientist at the University of California-Irvine.

The cryosphere includes all of the world’s frozen places.

Ice melt accelerating:Greenland and Antarctica are now melting six times faster than in the 1990s, accelerating sea-level rise

“The ice in West Antarctica has been melting faster in recent years, but the sheer size of Denman glacier means that its potential impact on long-term sea-level rise is just as significant,” he added.

In just the past 22 years, East Antarctica’s Denman Glacier has retreated nearly 3 miles, and researchers are concerned that the shape of the ground surface beneath the ice sheet could make it even more susceptible to climate-driven collapse.

Sea-level rise is one of the main effects of human-caused climate change. It’s important here in the United States because almost 40% of the U.S. population lives in relatively high population-density coastal areas, where sea level plays a role in flooding, shoreline erosion and hazards from storms, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

And globally, eight of the world’s 10 largest cities are near a coast, the United Nations’ Atlas of the Oceans reports.

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