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February 22, 2020 - The Weather Network

ANTARCTICA: Ocean warming could trigger rapid sea-level rise

ANTARCTICA: Ocean warming could trigger rapid sea-level rise
Antarcica melting ice, open watersFile Photo / © Photabulous!

We’ve all heard the saying: ‘The best way to predict the future is to study the past.’ And that’s exactly what climate scientists are doing to predict future global sea-levels.

A recent study led by Chris Turney, Professor of Earth and Climate Science at the University of New South Wales in Australia, explains that during the last interglacial period, about 129,000-116,000 years ago, Antarctica experienced a massive thaw that caused sea levels to rise up to three metres in some parts of the planet. According to Turney, temperatures across the polar oceans were less than 2°C above current values, and an ocean temperature rise of less than 2°C led to that scenario. This is a cause for concern in present-day, as we continue to see temperatures rise at an unprecedented rate in the polar regions -- thus causing ice to melt more rapidly and subsequently contributing to rising sea-levels. On a warming planet, most of the ice field covering western Antarctica would be lost, researchers conclude.

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