Antarctic glacier melt speeds up

larson.jpgA view of the remaining part of the Larsen B ice shelf that extends into the northwest part of the Weddell Sea is seen in this handout photo taken on March 4, 2008.

A glacier used as a benchmark to measure global warming’s impact on the Antarctic Peninsula melted more than usual in the past year, according to an Argentine glacier researcher.

For more than 20 years, Pedro Skvarca has studied the Devil’s Bay glacier on Vega Island off the Antarctic Peninsula, a part of Antarctica that is warming five times faster than the average in the rest of the world.

The whole of Antarctica holds enough ice and snow to raise world sea levels by 187 feet if it all melted over thousands of years, according to UN data.

Skvarca said the Devil’s Bay glacier has thinned by 3.3 feet (1 metre) per year on average since his research began. But its deterioration has been unusually marked in the past year.