One Antarctic ice shelf has quickly vanished, another is disappearing and glaciers are melting faster than anyone thought due to climate change, US and British government researchers have reported.
They said the Wordie Ice Shelf, which had been disintegrating since the 1960s, is gone and the northern part of the Larsen Ice Shelf no longer exists.
More than 8,300 square kilometres have broken off from the Larsen shelf since 1986.
Climate change is to blame, according to the report from the US Geological Survey and the British Antarctic Survey.
In another report published in the journal Geophysical Letters, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that ice is melting much more rapidly than expected in the Arctic as well, based on new computer analyses and recent ice measurements.
The UN Climate Panel projects that world atmospheric temperature will rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius because of emissions of greenhouse gases that could bring floods, droughts, heat waves and more powerful storms.
As glaciers and ice sheets melt, they can raise overall ocean levels and swamp low-lying areas.