That study found the massive basin would start melting again, with a sustained temperature rise of just two degrees Celsius the cap called for in the landmark Paris climate deal to avert runaway global warming.
However, a subsequent study published in Nature in September 2018 analyzed layers of sediment from the ocean floor deposited the last time the Wilkes Subglacial Basin, part of the Eastern Antarctic due south of Australia, melted around 125,000 years ago.
"It just so happens that our tilt right now is relatively high, and so perhaps in the coming decades - centuries, we would expect to see, an amplification of warming around the Antarctic that we haven't seen for millions of years", Mr Levy said.
The East Antarctic Ice Sheet is the world's largest, containing roughly half of Earth's freshwater.
Linking those cycles to a detailed chemical record suggests that elevated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the resulting loss of sea ice around the Antarctic played a big role in amplifying the effects of changes in the Earth's astronomical motions on the durability and stability of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.
This Nov. 11, 2016, file photo shows the Taylor Glacier near McMurdo Station, Antarctica.
The most striking finding in Monday's study is the assertion that East Antarctica, which contains by far the continent's most ice - a vast sheet capable of almost 170 feet of potential sea-level rise - is also experiencing serious melting.
A landmark study published in Nature in June previous year found that Antarctic ice melt had tripled since 1992, but did not show significant melting in the east. The ice sheet is so heavy, Bentley and his colleagues discovered, that much of the West Antarctic ice sheet sits on land thousands of meters below sea level, making it a marine ice sheet in places.
The research is important because it teases out the pattern of growth and decay of the ice sheet over geologic time, including the presence of sea ice, a thin and fragile layer of frozen ocean surrounding Antarctica. However, in the period from 2009 to 2017, this figure jumped to 252 billion tons.
The study found East Antarctica, which contains most of the continent's ice, was responsible for more than 30 percent of the continent's contribution to sea level rise. "It shows that we can't ignore the East Antarctic and need to focus in on the areas that are losing mass most quickly, particularly those with reverse bed slopes that could result in rapid ice disintegration and sea-level rise".
"It's extremely important to find out what is happening there", he told Reuters.
The bottom line is that Antarctica is losing a lot of ice and that vulnerable areas exist across the East and West Antarctic, with few signs of slowing as oceans grow warmer.