27 Nov 2015

New insight into Antarctic glacier thinning

11:12 am on 27 November 2015

The rapid thinning of the Antarctic glaciers could last for centuries, according to a new study from Victoria University.

The large Totten Glacier drains a major portion of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet

The large Totten Glacier on the East Antarctic ice sheet. Photo: Esmee van Wijk / CSIRO

Its Antarctic Research centre has presented the first recorded evidence that the process has already taken place in the past - 7000 years ago.

It provides a new insight into parts of the Antarctic ice sheet that are currently thinning because of a warming ocean.

Deputy director Andrew Mackintosh said the research was a wakeup call that retreat of the ice sheet could happen very quickly and continue for a thousand years.

The discovery was important for understanding the current thinning process caused by warmer seas, he said.

He hoped it would help with predicting rising sea levels.

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