Climate change: The ice of Antarctica is very young. Dan Lunt, University of Bristol.

Jul 02, 02:14 AM

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(Photo:A new study by researchers at NASA and the University of California, Irvine, finds a rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea. )

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Climate change: The ice of Antarctica is very young. Dan Lunt, University of Bristol.

Antarctica's whole ice sheet is only 34 million years old. Dan Lunt. University of Bristol.

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/352/6281/34http://science.sciencemag.org/content/352/6281/34  

How Antarctica got its ice

Caroline H. Lear, Dan J. Lunt

learc@cardiff.ac.uk; d.j.lunt@bristol.ac.uk

Science 01 Apr 2016: Vol. 352, Issue 6281, pp. 34-35 ; DOI: 10.1126/science.aad6284 

           Ice sheets such as those on Greenland and Antarctica today not only respond to changing climate but can also cause climate to change. Their sizes have fluctuated substantially in the past. In particular, Antarctica was effectively ice-free until its ice cover began to expand rapidly at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary around 34 million years ago (see the figure). Recent research, including a report by Galeotti et al. on page 76 of this issue (1), helps to identify the mechanisms that led to this rapid ice sheet growth.