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Antarctic Ice Melting From Below

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A paper published today in the science journal Nature reveals that the melting of Antarctica's ice sheet is being driven by a warming ocean more than a warming atmosphere.

Which means even though summer air temperatures have not yet warmed enough to substantially melt Antarctica's surface snows, the oceans are undermining the frozen continent from below--fueling a recent, widespread, and intensifying glacier acceleration and its accompanying rise in sea levels.

The results are based on 4.5 million measurements made by a laser instrument mounted on NASA's now defunct ICESat satellite between 2003 and 2008, which mapped the thickness of most floating ice shelves around Antarctica. The results: Of 54 ice shelves mapped, 20 are being melted by warm ocean currents, most of those in West Antarctica.
In all cases the inland glaciers that flow down to the coast and feed into...

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