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Posted Tue Aug 2 2011: from PNAS, via Irish Weather Online:
Small Amounts Of Warming Could Trigger Rapid Ice Shelf Collapse
Only small amounts of subsurface warming of water is required to trigger a rapid collapse of ice shelves, according to a new report to be published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.... The findings, the researchers say, provide historical evidence that warming of water by 3-4 degrees was enough to trigger these huge, episodic discharges of ice from the Laurentide Ice Sheet in what is now Canada. They claim the results are important due to concerns that warmer water could cause a comparatively fast collapse of ice shelves in Antarctica or Greenland, increasing the flow of ice into the ocean and raising sea levels. One of the most vulnerable areas, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, would raise global sea level by about 11 feet if it were all to melt. "We don't know whether or not water will warm enough to cause this type of phenomenon," said Shaun Marcott, a postdoctoral researcher at Oregon State University (OSU) and lead author of the report. "But it would be a serious concern if it did, and this demonstrates that melting of this type has occurred before."
[Read more stories about: arctic meltdown, ocean warming, rising sea level]

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'Doc Jim says:
Then we'd better stop all that hot air coming from the scientists!

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