Past and Future Grounding-Line Retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Science  08 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5438, pp. 280-283
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5438.280

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The history of deglaciation of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) gives clues about its future. Southward grounding-line migration was dated past three locations in the Ross Sea Embayment. Results indicate that most recession occurred during the middle to late Holocene in the absence of substantial sea level or climate forcing. Current grounding-line retreat may reflect ongoing ice recession that has been under way since the early Holocene. If so, the WAIS could continue to retreat even in the absence of further external forcing.

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