Scientists alarmed by Antarctic ice sheets' sensitivity to climate change

People are being urged to play their part in saving the Antarctic as a new study paints an alarming picture of the threat global warming poses to the frozen continent.

Research by Victoria University and GNS Science suggest the ice sheets are becoming more sensitive to climate change.

"It highlights that parts of the Ice Sheet that sit in the ocean are particularly sensitive to changes in the tilt of our planets axis," lead scientist Richard Levy said in a statement.

"It also raises serious questions about how these changes will affect Earth in the future as carbon emissions rise."

The Antarctic ice sheets first grew 34 million years ago as CO2 levels dropped and the climate cooled.

Dr Levy said unchecked melting of the ice shelf would be disastrous for the planet.

"We know that sea levels were 20 to 30 metres higher during past intervals of peak warmth, and while it takes significant time to melt large volumes of ice, these snapshots from the past give us an idea of the possible magnitude of future sea level rise if we do nothing to mitigate climate warming.

"The impact of unchecked ice sheet melt on our future societies would be extremely challenging. We want to do all we can to minimise future commitments."

Dr Levy told Newshub everyone needs to do more to fight climate change.

"The bottom line is we've just got to stop putting greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and particularly we've got to stop putting CO2 into the atmosphere."

He said a lot has changed in 15 years and it's not yet known what else will.

"Our main concern is just trying to figure out what's going to happen to those ice sheets in the future so that we can perhaps better prepare for resulting change particularly as sea levels go up."

Overall though, there needs to a more done to fight climate change across the globe as the current measures are not enough.

"If you look at what the temperature's doing now and what our commitments are and where we're likely to get with those commitments the global community's really not doing enough," Dr Levy said.