17 Jan 2011

Climate research reveals role of ocean warming

12:06 pm on 17 January 2011

A study by New Zealand scientists has concluded that ocean warming rather than rising sea levels is the major factor causing Antarctic ice sheets to retreat.

Lead author Andrew Mackintosh from Victoria University says it was previously thought the retreat of ice sheets was caused by a combination of global sea level rises and warmer oceans.

Dr Mackintosh says his team has used geological data and computer modelling to show that rising sea levels play only a minor role, and the majority of the ice loss is caused by ocean warming.

He says this means people should be very concerned about the warming of oceans occurring around Antarctica at present.