Climate Change Could Trigger Instability In A Antarctic Totten Glacier

Posted: May 19 2016, 4:13am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


Climate Change Could Trigger Instability in a Antarctic Totten Glacier
Totten Glacier. Credit: Esmee van Wijk/Australian Antarctic Division
  • Antarctic Glacier vanishing slowly Before our Eyes

An Antarctic glacier Totten is vanishing slowly before our eyes. Over the next couple of centuries, it will be reduced to a shadow of its previous state.

The Totten Glacier is in retreat. If global warming remains at its peak any longer, this glacier could be sent into a tailspin of a meltdown. The resultant water which will get released will cause the oceans around the world to rise by 2 meters.

Basically, the future of the glacier was calculated using the rocks underlying it as a heuristic. The researchers are essentially saying that if the frontal end of the glacier retreats by 150 km, it will enter a phase where a further chaotic reverse gear of 200-250 km will take place in its position. 

The majority of the large glaciers towards the eastern region of Antarctica are peaceful and calm and stay put in their place. Yet such is not the case with the Totten Glacier.

It is wearing away at the rate of half a meter per year and if current rates continue we will be facing global catastrophe sooner or later. The warm waters that get close to the glacier are apparently causing this trend to occur. 

A scenario of the future, were the present trends to continue, was mapped out by the scientists. Gravity and magnets have aided the scientists in gauging the erratic behavior of the glacier.

The subterranean sedimentary rocks are undergoing erosion at a fast pace. These are present at points where ice sheets have scraped away at the underlying geological formations.

The midpoint is what has led the teams of geologists to take a deep interest in the whole phenomenon. The sediment is thick here suggesting that the ice had a recent origin.    

The middle region is also the scene where the rock bed dips inwards. Thus the situation is ideal for instability and glacier retreat. The loss of ice is a very real fact.

Such a situation also occurred 3.5 million years ago during the Pliocene Epoch. The carbon dioxide levels were the same back then as they are right now. Yet the amount of glacier retreat will be visible in centuries.

So something could be done about it now such as keeping climate change in check. Not all is lost just yet and mankind can change its destructive tendencies in order to save the planet, its flora and fauna and himself from utter extinction.

This study, done by scientists from Imperial College London and institutions in Australia, the US, and New Zealand, got published in Nature.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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