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3/29/2007

Antarctic ice sheet thinning

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Antartica
A piece of the Antarctic ice sheet the size of Texas is thinning, possibly due to global warming, and could cause the world's oceans to rise significantly, polar ice experts say. They said "surprisingly rapid changes" were occurring in Antarctica's Amundsen Sea Embayment, which faces the southern Pacific Ocean, but that more study was needed to know how fast it was melting and how much it could cause the sea level to rise. It holds enough water to raise world sea levels 6m. The scientists blamed the melting ice on changing winds around Antarctica that they said were causing warmer waters to flow beneath ice shelves. The wind change appeared to be the result of several factors, including global warming, ozone depletion in the atmosphere and natural variability. Other parts of the continent also are losing ice, but generally not as quickly.
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