Fastest Glacier Melting Ever Observed In West Antarctica

Posted: Oct 26 2016, 8:13am CDT | by , Updated: Oct 26 2016, 8:26am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 

Fastest Glacier Melting Ever Observed in West Antarctica
For a pair of recent studies, UCI and NASA JPL scientists examined three neighboring glaciers in West Antarctica that are melting and retreating at different rates. The Smith, Pope and Kohler glaciers flow into the Dotson and Crosson ice shelves in the Amundsen Sea embayment in West Antarctica, the part of the continent with the largest loss of ice mass. Credit: NASA JPL
  • Glaciers in Antarctica are undergoing Extreme Sporadic Meltdown
 

Apparently, glaciers in Antarctica are undergoing an extreme and sporadic meltdown which is an indicator of increased global warming.

The Amundsen Sea is reported to be the most fragile of ice sheets in the entire Antarctic continent. Novel studies prove that a trio of the area’s frozen gateways are melting with great speed.

This may lead to a massive ice sheet collapse that will probably cause global coastal levels of water to rise by several feet. Once these glaciers melt in Antarctica, the sea levels will rise by a meter and it will be something which could not be reversed no matter what. 

The Amundsen Sea bays are home to some glaciers that are melting at a brisk pace. The warm oceanic waters flow through the continental shelf into the ice crevices that lie beneath them.

Here the ice undergoes erosion slowly and steadily. This is particularly so near the glacier’s grounding lines. Here the glacier hooks up with the sea water. Until now, the exact nature and amount of the ice loss remained unknown. Such is not the case anymore. 

Three glaciers that are melting at various rates were studied on an intensive basis. These were the Smith, Pope and Kohler glaciers and they enter the Amundsen bay area in the Antarctic region.

Aerial information was used to calculate the rate of ice loss in these three glaciers which were melting like there was no tomorrow. Via the satellite data, the changes in the grounding line of the glaciers over a period of time was tabulated.

The stability of the glaciers along with their rates of retreat were also measured accurately. Apparently, the loss of ice mass led to a rise in sea levels on a worldwide level. 

Radar readings from ESA’s Sentinel-1 mission as well as other odds and ends of information proved once and for all that changes in the glaciers were taking place at the point where contact is lost with the bedrock.

This is the crucial part where the loss of ice occurs in the first place. The rates of retreat of the three glaciers were compared on an extensive basis with each other.

Radar and laser altimetry were employed in the climate scientist’s repertoire of tools. The conclusion that was reached showed that a large part of the Antarctic continent is undergoing a meltdown as far as its glaciers are concerned.

This is a cause for worry if not panic for human beings who happen to be the major contributors to the scourge of global warming.

The findings of these two new studies published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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