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Variations in snowfall versus ice discharge over the past millennium seem to have averaged out— a sign that the ice sheet is less likely to make sudden additions to rising seas than some investigators had expected. But scientists engaged in this debate know all too well that the dynamic nature 37 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN EXCLUSIVE ONLINE ISSUE of the ice streams dictates that this reconciliation explains only what is going on today. S. McMurdo Station suggests that the ice sheet retreated through that area very rapidly around 7,000 years ago.

82, No. 1, pages 52–60; January/ February 1994. Climate Change and Human Health. Edited by Anthony J. McMichael, Andrew Haines, Rudolf Slooff and Sari Kovats. World Health Organization, World Meteorological Organization, United Nations Environmental Program, 1996. The Regional Impacts of Climate Change: An Assessment of Vulnerability, 1997. Edited by R. T. Watson, M. C. Zinyowera and R. H. Moss. Cambridge University Press, 1997. htm Biological and Physical Signs of Climate Change: Focus on Mosquito-Borne Diseases.

The ultimate effect of global warming on ice sheets depends on which process dominates. B. B. 35 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN EXCLUSIVE ONLINE ISSUE man of Northwestern University published one of the most influential early studies, a theoretical analysis of West Antarctica based on the forces then thought to control the stability of ice sheets. By that time scientists were well aware that most of the land underlying the thick ice in West Antarctica sits far below sea level and once constituted the floor of an ocean.

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