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Giant Antarctic glacier beyond point of no return

Published on Jan 13, 2014 6:20 AM

PARIS (AFP) - Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier, one of the biggest single contributors to world sea-level rise, is melting irreversibly and could add as much as a centimetre to ocean levels in 20 years, a study said Sunday.

The glacier "has started a phase of self-sustained retreat and will irreversibly continue its decline", said Mr Gael Durand, a glaciologist with France's Grenoble Alps University.

Mr Durand and an international team used three different models to forecast the glacier's future based on the "grounding line", which is the area under water where the ice shelf - a sea-floating extension of the continent-covering ice sheet - meets land.

This line has receded by about 10km in the past decade.

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