Contribution of the Patagonia Icefields of South America to Sea Level Rise
Digital elevation models of the Northern and Southern Patagonia Icefields of South America generated from the 2000 Shuttle Radar Topography Mission were compared with earlier cartography to estimate the volume change of the largest 63 glaciers. During the period 1968/1975-2000, these glaciers lost ice at a rate equivalent to a sea level rise of 0.042 +/- 0.002 millimeters per year. In the more recent years 1995-2000, average ice thinning rates have more than doubled to an equivalent sea level rise of 0.105 +/- 0.011 millimeters per year. The glaciers are thinning more quickly than can be explained by warmer air temperatures and decreased precipitation, and their contribution to sea level per unit area is larger than that of Alaska glaciers.
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