Evaluation on the Current Trend of Antarctic Ice Mass Loss: Causes and Impacts of Environmental Crisis

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0009-0004-8314-2975
Guo, Ziwen, Environmental Sciences - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Macko, Stephen, AS-Environmental Sciences (ENVS), University of Virginia
Miller, Lauren, AS-Environmental Sciences (ENVS), University of Virginia
Grise, Kevin, AS-Environmental Sciences (ENVS), University of Virginia

Antarctica, the largest reservoir of freshwater on Earth, holds approximately 90% of the world’s ice. This continent of extremes, however, is undergoing significant changes that not only influence its local ecosystems, but also have global implications. Over recent decades, scientific evidence has demonstrated a concerning trend of accelerated ice mass loss from Antarctica. This phenomenon, primarily driven by anthropogenic climate change, has far-reaching consequences for sea level rise, chemical and physical ocean properties, global climate systems, as well as biodiversity. Understanding the mechanisms, current trend, and the impacts of Antarctic ice mass loss is crucial for informing policy decisions, maintaining the Earth’s ecosystems, and mitigating future risks of human survival. This paper intends to explore the complexities of Antarctic ice dynamics, in order to better understand the current patterns of Antarctic ice mass loss, and to investigate factors that contribute to the reduction of Antarctic ice, eventually to predict the future impacts of the ice mass loss on Earth’s physical environments and various organisms thriving in those habitats. Through analyzing these aspects, this paper aims at a better comprehension of the cause, the present status, and potential future implications of ice mass loss from Antarctica. The hypothesis of this thesis is that despite temporal and spatial variations, there has been an overall acceleration in Antarctic ice mass loss, and the escalation of the quantity and extent of ice mass loss is the result of anthropogenic warming as well as alterations in Earth’s climate indices accompanied with such warming.

MA (Master of Arts)
Antarctica, ice mass loss, climate change, impacts
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