Antarctic Ice Loss Compared

The ice of Antarctica contains a vast amount of water. In fact, Antarctica is home to the largest ice sheet on Earth, known as the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The Antarctic Ice Sheet is a massive layer of ice that covers the land surface of Antarctica and contains approximately 90% of the world's fresh water.

The total volume of water contained within the Antarctic Ice Sheet is estimated to be around 26.5 million cubic kilometers (6.36 million cubic miles). This immense volume of ice represents about 70% of the world's fresh water and, if melted, would raise global sea levels by approximately 58 meters (190 feet).

It's important to note that the majority of this ice is located on land, as opposed to floating in the ocean as sea ice. The Antarctic Ice Sheet has an average thickness of about 2,100 meters (6,900 feet) and covers an area of approximately 14 million square kilometers (5.4 million square miles), which is roughly equivalent to the size of the United States and Mexico combined.

Historically, Antarctic sea ice extent has shown a slight increasing trend over the past few decades, particularly during the winter months (June to August) when sea ice reaches its maximum extent. However, it is important to note that this trend is much smaller in magnitude compared to the decreasing trend observed in Arctic sea ice extent.

But on June 20 of this year, the ice level was 2.4 million square kilometers (926,645 sq miles) below the 1991-2020 average.

Reddit user sdbernard compared this area of decreased ice to the largest countries in the world. If the sea ice loss were a country, it would be the 10th largest.

Antarctic sea ice extent


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