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Wind, warmer water driving Antarctica ice loss

- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 15, 2010

LOS ANGELES (AP) - West Antarctica has been losing ice and scientists now think they know why.

New satellite images and airborne data point to wind and water as the main culprits. Stronger winds lift warmer water onto the ice shelf, leading to the acceleration of ice loss.

Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, says the phenomenon has led to major ice thinning in the Antarctic Peninsula and the Pine Island Glacier, the biggest of the western glaciers.

Understanding what's driving the Antarctic ice loss will help scientists better predict future sea level rise.

The findings were presented Wednesday at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

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