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Posted Mon Sep 16 2013: from University of Bristol :
Achilles' Heel of Ice Shelves Is Beneath the Water, Scientists Reveal
New research has revealed that more ice leaves Antarctica by melting from the underside of submerged ice shelves than was previously thought, accounting for as much as 90 per cent of ice loss in some areas. Iceberg production and melting causes 2,800 cubic kilometres of ice to leave the Antarctic ice sheet every year. Most of this is replaced by snowfall but any imbalance contributes to a change in global sea level. For many decades, experts have believed that the most important process responsible for this huge loss was iceberg calving -- the breaking off of chunks of ice at the edge of a glacier. New research [shows] sub-shelf melting has as large an impact as iceberg calving for Antarctica as a whole and for some areas is far more important.
[Read more stories about: anthropogenic change, arctic meltdown, feedback loop, rising sea level]
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