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October 18 2012

Ice sheets may stabilise for centuries, regardless of warming


Ice sheets retreating due to global warming often suddenly stabilise for "decades to centuries" no matter that the warming is still going on, scientists have found. The new research would seem likely to have an impact on forecasts seeking to predict sea-level rise in coming times.

Boffins at Cambridge, Durham and Sheffield universities and others at the British Antarctic Survey came together to produce the new investigation, which sought to examine the way in which fast-moving "ice streams" move from major ice sheets - such as the Greenland and Western Antarctic ones - to the sea. The streams are very important, as they carry 90 per cent of the ice moving into the ocean.

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