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First evidence of human-caused climate change melting the West Antarctic ice sheet

12 August 2019

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A new study published this week reveals the first evidence of a direct link between human-induced global warming and melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. UK-US researchers say that curbing greenhouse gas emissions now could reduce the future sea-level contribution from this region.

Ice loss in West Antarctica has increased substantially in the last few decades and is ongoing. Scientists have known for some time that ice loss in this region is caused by ocean-driven melt, and that varying winds in the region cause transitions between relatively warm and cool ocean conditions around key glaciers. However, until now it was not clear how these naturally-occurring variations in the winds could cause ongoing ice loss.

Source: British Antarctic Survey,  a component of the Natural Environment Research Council

Image credit: Pierre Dutrieux - Dotson Ice Shelf. Curbing greenhouse gas emissions could help prevent further ice loss.