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Antarctic glaciers melt faster than ever: Scientists


18:55, April 16, 2013

BEIJING, April 16 (Xinhuanet) -- Parts of Antarctic glaciers and ice shelves have melted at high speed level in the past 600 years, adding new evidence to the global warming, according to a study in the Nature Geoscience journal on Monday.

A 364-meter deep ice core was drilled on James Ross Island by Australian researchers, near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, to measure historical temperatures and compare them with summer ice melt levels.

Data taken from the ice core shows the melt of summer ice in parts of Antarctic has been 10 times more intense over the past 50 years compared with 600 years ago, while the temperatures have gradually increased by 1.6 degrees Celsius over 600 years, researchers from the Australian National University and the British Antarctic Survey said.

That shows the ice melt can increase dramatically once temperatures hit a tipping point.

"It's definitely evidence that the climate and the environment is changing in this part of Antarctica," lead researcher Nerilie Abram said.

The quickened ice melts are also likely responsible for glacier ice loss and some of the dramatic collapses from the Antarctic ice shelf over the past 50 years, Robert Mulvaney, from the British Antarctic Survey, said.


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