Antarctic started losing ice sheets about 5,000 years earlier than thought: Study

A new study has revealed that Antarctic started losing ice sheets about 5,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Last Updated: May 29, 2014, 14:04 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: A new study has revealed that Antarctic started losing ice sheets about 5,000 years earlier than previously thought.

It has been observed that Antarctic is now losing around 159 billion tonnes of ice each year.

The polar ice sheets play crucial role in global sea level rise and, when combined, the Antarctic losses detected are enough to raise global sea levels by 0.45 millimetres each year alone.
The researchers at University of Cologne, Oregon State University, the Alfred-Wegener-Institute, University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of Lapland, University of New South Wales, and University of Bonn examined two sediment cores from the Scotia Sea between Antarctica and South America that contained "iceberg-rafted debris”.

Periods of rapid increases in iceberg-rafted debris suggest that more icebergs were being released by the Antarctic ice sheet.

The researchers discovered increased amounts of debris during eight separate episodes beginning as early as 20,000 years ago, and continuing until 9,000 years ago.
The melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet was not thought to have started, however, until 14,000 years ago.

The research also provides the first solid evidence that the Antarctic ice sheet contributed to what is known as meltwater pulse 1A - a period of very rapid sea level rise that began some 14,500 years ago.

The study has been published in the journal Nature.

(With Agencies inputs)