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Antarctic ice melt: 10 percent of sea rise

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Cambridge, England (UPI) Jun 22, 2010
New research led by the British Antarctic Survey shows West Antarctica's ice melt currently contributes nearly 10 percent of the global sea level rise.

An international team of researchers -- including scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York and the Britain's National Oceanography Center -- identified the antarctic's Pine Island Glacier as a major source of the ice melt.

Officials said the project is part of a series of investigations to better understand the impact of melting antarctic ice on sea level.

The scientists said they used an autonomous underwater vehicle to dive beneath the Pine Island Glacier's floating ice shelf and discovered a 985-foot-high ridge (mountain) on the sea floor.

"The discovery of the ridge has raised new questions about whether the current loss of ice from Pine Island Glacier is caused by recent climate change or is a continuation of a longer-term process that began when the glacier disconnected from the ridge," Adrian Jenkins of the British Antarctic Survey and the study's lead author said. "This work is vital for evaluating the risk of potential wide-spread collapse of west antarctic glaciers."

The new findings are reported in the journal Nature Geoscience.

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