Watch below to see where the Antarctic ice sheet has been suffering its greatest losses over the past 25 years.
It predicts that if emissions remain high, by 2070 major ice shelves will have collapsed, sea level rise will have accelerated to rates not seen in 20,000 years, and ocean acidification and over-fishing will have altered Southern Ocean ecosystems.
"We are confident in our understanding of ice mass change in Antarctica and its impact on sea levels".
Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds, who leads the Ice sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (Imbie), said it had always been suspecting changes in Earth's climate would affect the polar ice sheets.
The melting is the result of warmer ocean waters undermining glaciers grounded on sea bottoms around Antarctica and increased surface melt from warmer air temperatures. But what concerns scientists is the balance of how much snow and ice accumulates in a given year versus the amount that is lost.
A group of 80 Antarctic experts said that in the two decades prior to 2012, the continent lost about 76 billion tons of ice annually, which caused about 0.2 millimeters of sea-level rise a year. At a constant rate that would increase average sea level to almost 12 inches by the end of this century. The melting ice and warming waters have all been primarily driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases. West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula, which reaches toward South America, have been known for some time to be losing ice.
West Antarctica lost 159 billion tons of ice a year from 2012 through 2017, compared with just 65 billion tons from 2002 through 2007.
East Antarctica has sometimes been a focus of attention for people who deny the science of global warming.
The study is the product of a large group of Antarctic experts who collectively reviewed 24 recent measurements of Antarctic ice loss, reconciling their differences to produce the most definitive figures yet on changes in Antarctica.
"The fate of Antarctica, the fate of Greenland, is the fate of Miami", she said.
Researchers must extrapolate a smaller amount of data over an area the size of the United States, which can make the analysis less precise.
According to NASA, the data for this study was gathered by over a dozen different satellites - NASA's ICESat mission, the NASA/German Aerospace Center twin GRACE satellites, the European Space Agency's Envisat and CryoSat-2 satellites, the German Aerospace Center TerraSAR-X satellite, the European Union's Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites, the Italian Space Agency's COSMO-SkyMed satellite constellation, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Advanced Land Observatory System, and the Canadian Space Agency's RADARSAT-1 and RADARSAT-2 satellites. And they found that it's melting faster than they thought. "And we find that by combining all of the available measurements we can iron out the problems that individual techniques have".
Prior to 2012, the rate of ice loss held mostly steady at around 76 billion tonnes per year - equating to a 0.2 mm annual contribution to sea level rise.
An accelerating thaw of Antarctica has pushed up world sea levels by nearly a centimeter since the early 1990s in a risk for coasts from Pacific islands to Florida, an global team of scientists said on Thursday.
That's because as Antarctica's mass shrinks, the ice sheet's gravitational pull on the ocean relaxes somewhat, and the seas travel back across the globe to pile up far away - with USA coasts being one prime destination.
Direct observation from satellites upended that view.
In its article on the new Nature study, the Washington Post reports, "In a controversial 2016 study, former NASA scientist James Hansen and a team of colleagues found that Earth's sea level could rise above one meter (or 3.3 feet) within 50 years if polar ice-sheet loss doubles every 10 years".