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Antarctic ice sheet began melting 5000 years earlier than thought: Study

A new study reveals that Antarctic ice sheet began melting 5,000 years earlier than previously believed.

According to geologists and some experts, the continent is losing close to 159 billion tonnes of ice every year.

The ice sheets in the Antarctic tend to play a vital role in global sea levels, when combined; the losses can increase the global sea level by 0.45 millimetres every year. So how the scientists reached at the new conclusion?

Researchers from University of Bonn, University of Cologne, Alfred-Wegener-Institute, Oregon State University, University of Lapland, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and University of New South Wales studied two sediment centers of the Scotia Sea between South America and Antarctic that had iceberg-rafted rubble.

It was found that periods of fast increases in iceberg-rafted rubble suggested additional icebergs were actually released by the ice sheets in Antarctic.

On the other hand, the researchers found increased amount of debris during eight different events starting 20,000 years back, and continuing till 9,000 years ago. Till, 14,000 years ago, the melting of the ice sheets in Antarctic was not supposed to have started.

The study also provided proof that the ice sheets in Antarctic actually gave way to what is called meltwater pulse 1A, which is considered a phase of rapid sea level rise that started 14,500 years ago.