Researchers map how ice sheets shrank during Ice Age

February 13th, 2011 - 4:41 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 13 (IANS) Researchers have mapped for the first time how the last British ice sheet shrank during the Ice Age.

The maps record the pattern and speed of shrinkage of the large ice sheet that covered the British Isles during the Ice Age, approximately 20,000 years ago.

Led by Chris Clark, a geographer at the University of Sheffield, experts developed the maps to understand what effect the current shrinking of ice sheets in parts of the Antarctic and Greenland will have on the speed of sea level rise, the journal Quaternary Science Reviews reports.

The sheet, which subsumed most of Britain, Ireland and the North Sea, had an ice volume sufficient to raise global sea levels by around 2.5 metres when it melted, according to a Sheffield University statement.

Using the maps, researchers will be able to understand the mechanisms and rate of change of ice sheet retreat, allowing them to make predictions for our polar regions, whose ice sheets appear to be melting.

Clark said: “It took us over 10 years to gather all the information in order to produce these maps, and we are delighted with the results.”

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