Researches has found that Antarctic ice sheets retreated at speeds of up to 50 meters (164 feet) a day at the end of the last Ice Age — about ten times quicker than the fastest retreating sheets of today, said CNN.
Scientists from the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge said some 12,000 years ago, the ice retreated at speeds over 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) a year — far more rapid than today’s retreat rates, which are calculated using satellite data.
They deduced this by studying patterns of wave-like ridges on the Antarctic seafloor.
Researchers also warned that, should climate change carry on weakening ice shelves in the coming decades, we could soon see similar levels of ice retreat.
According to the report, that could be more than were thought possible and that will have huge implications for global sea levels.
A recent study by NASA showed that Antarctica and Greenland’s ice sheets lost 118 gigatons and 200 gigatons of ice on average per year, which caused the sea level to rise by about half an inch between 2003 and 2019.
Warmer summer temperatures are chiefly to blame for this ice loss, according to NASA.
The warm temperatures have melted ice from the surface of the glaciers and ice sheets.
Experts say this new study shows that, given the speed at which the ice retreated in the past, the future rate of change and ice retreat could be significantly greater than previously thought.