Thom Wilch, chair of the geology department and the Hubert H. and Grace A. Dow Trustees' Professor in the Sciences at Albion College, is one of the authors of a report published in the March 19 edition of the journal Nature from a five-nation research team which states new evidence that even a slight rise in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, a gas that drives global warming, affects the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). The massive WAIS covers the continent west of the Transantarctic Mountains. Any substantial melting of the ice sheet would cause a rise in global sea levels.
The research is based on investigations by a 56-member team of scientists conducted on a 4,100-footlong sedimentary rock core taken from beneath the sea floor under Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf during the first project of the ANDRILL (ANtartic geological DRILLing) research program. Albion alum Ellen Cowan, '79, a geology professor at Appalachian State University, is another author of the report.