New Study: Earth’s Biggest Ice Sheet Unharmed During Warmer Period in History

Antarctica’s eastern ice sheet was stable for millions of years during the Pliocene warm period when atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were about the same as today, according to a new study.

The study on the Earth’s largest ice sheet surviving a period scientists believe was warmer than modern times was published in the journal Nature, but got little media attention, especially when compared to a study published the same day in the very same journal alleging Antarctic ice melt had tripled from ten years ago. . .

Shakun’s study found that while portions of Antarctica’s ice sheets retreated, the eastern portion proved to be very resilient during the warm period between 2.6 million and 5.3 million years ago.

“Based on this evidence from the Pliocene, today’s current carbon dioxide levels are not enough to destabilize the land-based ice on the Antarctic continent,” Shakun said in a statement.

Shakun’s team analyzed ice cores, looking for isotopes that point to interaction between glacial sediment and cosmic rays. They only found trace amounts, suggesting ice cover persisted through past warm periods. (Read more from “New Study: Earth’s Biggest Ice Sheet Unharmed During Warmer Period in History” HERE)

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