Greenland ice melted more than Antartica’s

August 1st, 2011 - 2:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 1 (IANS) The last prolonged warm spell caused the oceans to rise between 4 to 6.5 metres higher than their current levels.

Where did all that extra water come from? Mainly from melting ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica. Many scientists believed that Greenland was the main culprit.

But work by University of Wisconsin-Madison geoscientist Anders Carlson reveals surprising patterns of melt during the last interglacial period 125,000 years ago. It suggests that Greenland’s ice may be more stable and Antarctica’s less stable than many thought, reports the journal Science.

“There’s a clear need to understand how it (ice sheet) has behaved in the past, and how it has responded to warmer-than-present summers in the past,” said Carlson, according to a Wisconsin statement.

The ice-estimation business is rife with unknown variables and has few known physical constraints, Carlson explains, making ice sheet behaviour — where they melt, how much, how quickly — the largest source of uncertainty in predicting sea level rises due to climate change.

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