THE BIG MELT
Feb. 27, 2015 -- CAPE LEGOUPIL, Antarctica (AP) -- From the ground in this extreme northern part of Antarctica, spectacularly white and blinding ice seems to extend forever. What can't be seen is the battle raging thousands of feet (hundreds of meters) below to re-shape Earth.
Water is eating away at the Antarctic ice, melting it where it hits the oceans. As the ice sheets slowly thaw, water pours into the sea -- 130 billion tons of ice (118 billion metric tons) per year for the past decade, according to NASA satellite calculations. That's the weight of more than 356,000 Empire State Buildings, enough ice melt to fill more than 1.3 million Olympic swimming pools. And the melting is accelerating.
In the worst case scenario, Antarctica's melt could push sea levels up 10 feet (3 meters) worldwide in a century or two, recurving heavily populated coastlines.
Parts of Antarctica are melting so rapidly it has become "ground zero of global climate change without a doubt," said Harvard geophysicist Jerry Mitrovica.