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Ancient Antarctic ice melt increased sea levels by 3+ meters—and it could happen again

Rising ocean temperatures drove the melting of Antarctic ice sheets and caused extreme sea level rise more than 100,000 years ago, a new international study led by UNSW Sydney shows. Mass melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet was a major cause of high sea levels during a period known as the Last Interglacial (129,000-116,000 years ago), an international team of scientists led by UNSW's Chris Turney has found. The research was published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The extreme ice loss caused a multi-metre rise in global mean sea levels—and it took less than 2°C of ocean warming for it to occur. "Not only did we lose a lot of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, but this happened very early during the Last Interglacial," says Chris Turney, Professor in Earth and Climate Science at UNSW Sydney and lead author of the study.  Read more..... 

 

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