Antarctica is likely warming at almost twice the rate of the rest of the world and faster than climate change models are predicting, with potentially far-reaching implications for global sea level rise, according to a scientific study.

Scientists analysed 78 Antarctic ice cores to recreate temperatures going back 1,000 years and found the warming across the continent was outside what could be expected from natural swings.

In West Antarctica, a region considered particularly vulnerable to warming with an ice sheet that could push up global sea levels by several metres if it collapsed, the study found warming at twice the rate suggested by climate models.

Climate scientists have long expected that polar regions would warm faster than the rest of the planet – a phenomenon known as polar amplification – and this has been seen in the Arctic.