Radio NZ: Climate research reveals role of ocean warming

Research led by a New Zealand scientist has revealed the major cause behind the significant melting of the West Antarctica ice sheet at the end of the last glacial age.

The retreat was caused primarily by ocean warming (rather than rising sea levels), and the study’s lead author, Dr Andrew Mackintosh, says it suggests there should be concern over the current warming of the oceans around Antarctica.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“Lead author Andrew Mackintosh from Victoria University says it was previously thought the retreat of ice sheets was caused by a combination of global sea level rises and warmer oceans.

“Dr Mackintosh says his team has used geological data and computer modelling to show that rising sea levels play only a minor role, and the majority of the ice loss is caused by ocean warming.”