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Irreversible Collapse: APL-UW Research Suggests Melt of West Antarctic Glaciers

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Published on May 14, 2014

Airborne and satellite observations of West Antarctic topography and glacier flow speeds are combined with a computer model simulating ocean-driven glacier melting to show that the ice sheet's collapse is already underway. While their results show that early-stage collapse has begun, the timing is less certain. The onset of rapid collapse may begin in two centuries or a millennium from now. APL-UW glaciologists Ian Joughin and Ben Smith, and former APL-UW graduate student Brooke Medley are co-authors of "Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Underway for the Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica," published in the 16 May issue of Science. See http://www.sciencemag.org/

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