Fears that the planet could be devastated by rising sea levels have been eased by Sheffield University scientists - who say they can predict the effects of future climate change more accurately than ever before.
City-based experts believe the rise of global sea levels caused by the loss of Antarctic ice sheets may only be half that estimated in previous studies.
But the news is not all good. Their research has shown the Greenland Ice Sheet is in steeper decline than was first thought, and will provide twice the amount of sea water as the West Antarctic.
Geographer Professor Edward Hanna said: “We believe the contribution to global sea-level rise from the Antarctic Ice Sheet might be only half that reported in some previous major studies just a year or two ago.
“We also confirm previous results suggesting an accelerating major loss of mass, at double the Antarctic rate, from the Greenland Ice Sheet. However, considerable uncertainty still remains concerning the current rate of change for the Antarctic Ice Sheet.”
Currently sea levels are rising at the rate of three millilitres per year, but that figure is predicted to increase steadily as more of the ice sheets are lost.