Monday, July 22, 2013

Ancient melting of Antarctic ice sheet pushed sea levels up 65 feet

LONDON, July 22 (UPI) -- In one of the Earth's ancient warming episodes sea levels rose by as much as 65 feet as one of Antarctica's large ice sheets melted, scientists say.
Researchers from Imperial College London and colleagues studying mud samples to learn about ancient melting of the East Antarctic ice sheet found melting took place repeatedly between 5 million and 3 million years ago, during a geological period called Pliocene Epoch, and pushed up global sea levels.
The findings may provide insights into how sea levels could rise as a consequence of current global warming, an ICL release said Monday.
"The Pliocene Epoch had temperatures that were two or three degrees higher than today and similar atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to today," Tina Van De Flierdt of the college's Department of Earth Science and Engineering said.
"Our study underlines that these conditions have led to a large loss of ice and significant rises in global sea level in the past. Scientists predict global temperatures of a similar level may be reached by the end of this century, so it is very important for us to understand what the possible consequences might be." Read More