Researchers head off on polar study

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SCIENTISTS from Edinburgh University are to study rocks in the West Antarctic to help improve knowledge of sea level changes.

The group, led by researchers from the university’s school of geosciences, will use sensor technology and chemical analysis to work out how long rocks at the surface of the Antarctic ice have been exposed to cosmic radiation in their lifetime.

It is hoped the measurements will help improve predictions of rising tide levels.

Professor David Sugden, who will be involved in the research said: “Studying these half-a-million-year-old rocks will help us discover whether they have always been where they are now – stuck in the ice sheet – or if the ice sheet melted in warmer climates.

“This will help us predict whether we are heading for major sea level rises in the next century or so, as we head toward warmer climates.”

The three-year study, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, is a collaboration involving numerous universities.