Friday, January 15, 2010

Pine Island Glacier - Sea Ice Tipping Point - 3.3 meter sea level rise

Ice Sheets Unstable as Climate Warms

A new study examines how ice sheets, such as the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, could become unstable as the world warms.

The team from Oxford University and Cambridge University developed a model to explore how changes in the "grounding line" – where an ice sheet floats free from its base of rock or sediment – could lead to the disintegration of ice sheets and result in a significant rise in global sea level.

A report of their research is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

"The volume of ice locked up in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is equivalent to a sea level rise of around 3.3 metres," said Dr Richard Katz of Oxford University's Department of Earth Sciences, an author of the report. "Our model shows how instability in the grounding line, caused by gradual climatic changes, has the potential to reach a 'tipping point' where disintegration of the ice sheet could occur."

Read entire article, abstract of research and download research in PDF format

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