Sea ice and glaciers are melting all over the globe from warmer temperatures. Over 60% of the world’s fresh water is stored in the ice sheets covering Antarctica – up to 4.5 km thick and up to 25 million years old.
The Ross ice shelf alone is as large as France. The average temperature on the Antarctic Peninsula has risen 4.5°F since 1947. All of the major floating ice shelves are shrinking – melting more during the summer than is being refrozen during winter – about 8,000 sq. km have been lost since the 1950s. Were the West Antarctic ice sheet to melt due to climate warming, it could raise sea levels by 20 ft. Sea levels are already rising by 2mm a year – faster than during the past 5,000 years. Krill – small shrimplike sea creatures that are a major food source for seals, whales and penguins – feed on algae found on sea ice. In Antarctica, they are concentrated northeast of the Antarctic Peninsula – but have declined 80% since the 1970s.