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Rise in sea level likely due to Antarctica's melting ice

A new study has warned that the ice discharge from Antarctica could cause the increase in sea level much sooner than previously thought.

"If greenhouse gases continue to rise, ice discharge from Antarctica could raise the global ocean by an additional 1-37 centimetres in this century already," said lead author Anders Levermann, a climatologist and professor at the institute for physics and astrophysics of Potsdam University, Germany.

"Now this is a big range - which is exactly why we call it a risk," he added.

Some earlier studies had shown that Antarctica is a minor contributor compared to the thermal expansion of the warming oceans and melting mountain glaciers. At present, less than 10 per cent to global sea level rise is caused due to Antarctica.

The study added that s Greeland and the Antarctic ice sheets Are set to become major contributors to the rise in sea level.

According to the study, the estimated projection for the rise in sea level are significantly higher than the latest projections by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climage Change (IPCC) on the upper end.

"Even in a scenario of strict climate policies limiting global warming in line with the 2 degrees Celsius, the contribution of Antarctica to global sea level rise covers a range of zero to 23 cm," researchers emphasised.

"Datasets of Antarctic bedrock topography, for instance, are still inadequate and some physical processes of interaction between ice and ocean cannot be sufficiently simulated yet," Levermann added.

The rise in sea level will affect of millions of coastal dwellers around the world and indirectly affects billions of people who are dependent on coasts for their livelihood.

"Pulling together all the evidence it seems that Antarctica could become the dominant cause of sea level rise much sooner," Levermann concluded.

The findings of the study were published in the journal Earth System Dynamics.