Effect of Sedimentation on Ice-Sheet Grounding-Line Stability

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Science  30 Mar 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5820, pp. 1838-1841
DOI: 10.1126/science.1138396

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Sedimentation filling space beneath ice shelves helps to stabilize ice sheets against grounding-line retreat in response to a rise in relative sea level of at least several meters. Recent Antarctic changes thus cannot be attributed to sea-level rise, strengthening earlier interpretations that warming has driven ice-sheet mass loss. Large sea-level rise, such as the ≈100-meter rise at the end of the last ice age, may overwhelm the stabilizing feedback from sedimentation, but smaller sea-level changes are unlikely to have synchronized the behavior of ice sheets in the past.

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