Experts say Antarctica is melting more than six times faster than it did in the 1980s.

Using aerial photographs, satellite measurements and computer models to track ice in 176 individual basins, a new study has shown that ice loss is accelerating dramatically.

It has been taken as a key indicator of human-caused climate change.

The study found Antarctica has lost almost 252 billion metric tonnes of ice per year since 2009.

Back in the 1980s, it was losing 40 billion metric tonnes a year.

Lead author Professor Eric Rignot from the University of California says melting in West Antarctica and the Antarctica Peninsula account for about four-fifths of the ice loss.

East Antarctica’s melting “increases the risk of multiple metre sea level rise over the next century or so,” Professor Rignot said.

“As climate warming and ozone depletion send more ocean heat toward those sectors, they will continue to contribute to sea level rise from Antarctica in decades to come.”

The full report is accessible here.