General Article West Antarctic Ice Sheet 'could be more stable than thought'

Topic Selected: Climate Change
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A new study involving a scientist at the University of Exeter has reported valuable new evidence on the issue which suggests the ice sheet may be more stable than thought.

Dr Chris Fogwill, from the University’s Geography department in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, went to Antarctica to carry out first-hand research for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)-funded study.

He said: ‘The debate on the ice sheet focuses around the Earth’s past climate. Evidence suggests our climate has warmed before and about 125,000 years ago there was an “interglacial period” when global temperatures were about 2°C warmer than they are today.

‘Some models of that past climate suggest sea-levels were much higher during that time than they are now, and some of that water would have to have come from this giant freshwater body of ice – suggesting the ice sheet is vulnerable to melting at warmer global temperatures.

‘However, we found evidence which suggests the ice sheet h...

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