Thousands of marks on the Antarctic seafloor, caused by icebergs which broke free from glaciers more than ten thousand years ago, show how part of the Antarctic Ice Sheet retreated rapidly at the end of the last ice age as it balanced precariously on sloping ground and became unstable. Today, as the global climate continues to warm, rapid and sustained retreat may be close to happening again and could trigger runaway ice retreat into the interior of the continent, which in turn would cause sea levels to rise even faster than currently projected.
An international team of researchers has found that the Antarctic Ice Sheet plays a major role in regional and global climate variability – a discovery that may also help explain why sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere has been increasing despite the warming of the rest of the Earth.
A new study finds that the Greenland Ice Sheet, which covers 1.7 million square kilometres and contains enough ice to raise sea levels worldwide by seven metres, is less stable and more sensitive to climate change than previously thought.
Scientists from the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) have raised concerns regarding what they believe are erroneous claims of a 15% decrease in the permanent ice cover of Greenland in just 12 years.