The South Pole is treading on thin ice, according to a study presented yesterday that found rapid thinning in three of Antarctica’s largest glaciers. In the last 10 years, the glaciers have lost up to 150 feet of thickness, or a collective 37.6 cubic miles of ice. According to the authors of the study, who shared their conclusions during a panel on the effects of global warming on the world’s cold regions at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union, that’s enough to raise the world’s sea levels one-sixtieth of an inch single-handedly (so to speak). At current melting rates, the glaciers could begin to float in 150 years and would vanish in around 1,500 years — a long time for us, but a blink of the eye in geological time. Some scientists blame global warming for the melting ice, but others doubt that the relatively small temperature change in the last century could affect Antarctic climes.

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