Antarctic Glacier Retreat Began In 1940s

Posted: Nov 24 2016, 6:06am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Antarctic Glacier Retreat Began in 1940s
In mid-October 2011, NASA scientists working in Antarctica discovered a massive crack across the Pine Island Glacier, a major ice stream that drains the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Extending for 19 miles (30 kilometers), the crack was 260 feet (80 meters) wide and 195 feet (60 meters) deep. Eventually, the crack will extend all the way across the glacier, and calve a giant iceberg that will cover about 350 square miles (900 square kilometers). Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan AS
  • Receding of the West Antarctic Glacier ensued a Quarter of a Century Ago

It looks like the receding of the West Antarctic Glacier ensued a quarter of a century ago in the 1940s.

Novel research shows that the thinning and receding of ice in Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica is part and parcel of a larger trend. This phenomenon began in the 1940s.

A team of scientists from many distinguished universities and institutes examined sediment samples from beneath the Pine Island Glacier. The exact year when the grounding line began retreating from the ridge was 1945.

The final ungrounding was in 1970. The results speak for themselves. Even when climate forcing, such as the sort that occurred in El Nino, showed a lessening, the retreat continued apace.

The West Antarctic ice sheet happens to be the largest source of sea level rise. Over the previous 40 years or so, the ice sheets have thinned at the location that is the Amundsen Sea.

An instability and irreversibility of this trend can be seen. The grounding line is retreating surely and steadily. Satellite monitoring began in the 90s. Since then a pretty accurate record of the retreating grounding line has been kept via aerial views of the region.

Pine Island Glacier basically lets loose its melted water into the Amundsen Sea. External forces definitely played their part in this trend. Thinner ice shelves were another phenomena that kept up the meltdown with the passage of time.

Evidence gathered from underwater vehicles shows that a prominent sea floor ridge remains extant. The earliest satellite photos from 1973 show that bumps exist on the ice floor.

These bumps had vanished a few years later. Thus this offers us valuable clues as to the fact that the recent retreat may be a part of a larger pattern.

Holes were finally drilled through the glacier. This took place in 2012 and 2013. It was done in order to gain access to the ocean grotto underneath. Sediment cores were found and salvaged from the odds and ends found in the region.

Transformations in the lithology were found to have occurred time after time. Gauging of lead and plutonium samples also took place side by side with this process.

The glacier is melting and there are no two ways about it. It is a solid fact of reality that we have to accept since to deny reality is to live in fantasy land.

The findings of this research got published in the Nov. 23 issue of the journal 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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