Antarctic Ice Collapse Began End of Ice Age?

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"The connection of the major climatic events is beautifully reproduced in the computer model," said Andrew Weaver, a numerical climate modeler and geophysicist at the University of Victoria.

Lessons Learned

The new study not only sheds light on the last throes of the ice age, explaining how the Earth got from a deep freeze to its current climate, it also proves that Earth's climate is strongly linked together.

"Change one thing, like ice sheet mass at one of the poles, and it can trigger a sequence of other global scale events," said Mitrovica.

Until now, the end of the ice age has fixated on North America, leaving the Southern Hemisphere "woefully understudied," said Weaver.

According to a study last year, the Antarctic is the only continent in the world that is currently growing cooler. Researchers discovered that temperatures on the icy continent actually decreased by 0.7° Celsius (1.8° Fahrenheit) per decade in the last 35 years.

That study sparked a controversy because it suggested the Antarctic is not doing what most scientists expect it to do: grow warmer. That may be good news. As the new findings suggest, even the partial melting of the Antarctic would have potentially devastating consequences on the climate of the rest of the world.

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