5 May 2014

Sea levels under threat

2:56 pm on 5 May 2014

A new study has found that the thawing of part of east Antarctica could trigger an unstoppable slide of ice into the ocean and raise world sea levels for thousands of years.

The report says the Wilkes Basin in east Antarctica, stretching more than 1,000km has enough ice to raise sea levels by three to four metres if it were to melt as an effect of global warming.

Reuters reports the Basin is vulnerable because it is held in place by a small rim of ice, resting on bedrock below sea level by the coast of the frozen continent. That "ice plug" might melt away in coming centuries if ocean waters warm up.