Coach House Geography

Interesting Geography stuff for InterHigh

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EcoAlert: Climate-Change Impact Intensifies in Antarctica

Posted by Lindy on February 8, 2011

New studies of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet have shown that climate change is having a more considerable impact than first thought. The East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) holds enough ice to raise global sea level by about 60 metres. But because surface temperatures across East Antarctica are well below freezing point, this ice has long been thought to be relatively stable, and thus unlikely to contribute significantly to sea level rise during the next few centuries.

However, new research suggests that parts of the ice sheet may respond more rapidly to global climate change than previously assumed.  Ice melt reaches the sea by 2 mechanisms:  from melted ice occurs along the coastal perimeter of East Antarctica and ice sheet via large outlet glaciers from the interior. Studies of ice from the last age indicate that melting of the ices sheets and their draining by outlet glaciers had a greater impact than previously thought, so increasing the overall estimates of ice loss! Just how much more is yet to be calculated.


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