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Loughborough University Library (Credit: Vijetha Vijayan, distributed via Flickr)

Media Library Diagram of ice sheet retreat

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European Geosciences Union

Diagram of ice sheet retreat

Diagram of ice sheet retreat (Credit: Jeremy Harbeck/NASA IceBridge)

When the bedrock slopes inward toward the continent, warm, deep ocean water can flow downward under the ice shelf, chewing away at the grounding line. Melting can be as much as 20 to 50 metres of ice thickness each year. As the glacier’s base recedes, the brakes holding the continental ice ease up and the glaciers feeding the ice shelf accelerate, and thus further thin and recede the ice sheet.

Credit: Jeremy Harbeck/NASA IceBridge

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