A new study suggests Antarctica isn't shrinking after all — it's getting larger.
The latest data from NASA shows Antarctica is actually gaining ice mass thanks to snow and instead of driving sea level rise, may actually be slowing it down.
NASA says this "challenges" the latest published findings from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which show Antarctica is losing ice and driving sea level rise.
The proof, according to NASA, is Antarctica's inland snowfall. Jay Zwally, the agency's lead cryosphere researcher, says, "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."
See developments in the study of Antarctica's ice:
This has been Zwally's — and NASA's — position foryears.
The problem is sea levels are still rising — though where that water is coming from is still a mystery — and parts of Antarctica are still melting fasterthanever. So NASA wants a closer look to better understand exactly how all Antarctica's ice fits into the sea-level picture.
The upcoming ICESat 2 mission will be able to track snowpack changes in Antarctica down to the thickness of a pencil. It's scheduled for launch in 2018.
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