If the results of the study I’m discussing are robust, and not just true, many more climate change effects will become apparent sooner than many think. It has been known for a number of years that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has, on net, lost ice mass since ~2005. This phenomenon has occurred concurrently with the Greenland ice sheet also losing mass over a similar time period. That mass loss has contributed to a, until now, relatively small amount of sea level rise.
A new study suggests that sea level rise scenarios may need serious revision quickly: the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) has, according to NASA’s GRACE satellite data, also lost mass in the 2005-present time period. Why is this a potential big deal? Because east Antarctica contains enough water to raise sea levels by 50-60m (160-200 feet!) if they melted completely. In contrast, the water in the WAIS and Greenland amount to “only” 6-7m (~20 feet) each if they melted completely. So the EAIS contains an order of magnitude more water than the other two large ice sheets on Earth.