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Posts Tagged ‘polar ice’

Warm Ocean Waters to Blame for Antarctic Ice Melt

April 26, 2012 Comments off

livescience.com

Antarctica's Brunt Ice Shelf.
Antarctica’s Brunt Ice Shelf.
CREDIT: British Antarctic Survey

When it comes to melting ice shelves in Antarctica, the danger comes from below, new research suggests.

By discovering the anatomy of ice loss across this chilly expanse, research may be able to forecast how the continent will melt in the future — and also how much global seas may rise.

Team member David Vaughan, a scientist at the European Union initiative ice2sea, said this study “shows the key to predicting how the ice sheet will change in the future is in understanding the oceans.”

Water or wind?

Scientists have long known that the wide platforms of ice extending from the southernmost continent have been shrinking away. But what’s behind the melting hasn’t been clear — whether warm ocean currents or surface winds have a bigger impact on the ice.

Now, a new satellite survey of Antarctica places the blame largely on the water. “In most places in Antarctica, we can’t explain the ice-shelf thinning through melting of snow at Read more…

Pace of polar ice melt ‘accelerating rapidly’: study

March 10, 2011 Comments off

 

(AFP)

WASHINGTON — The pace at which the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are melting is “accelerating rapidly” and raising the global sea level, according to findings of a study financed by NASA and published Tuesday.

The findings suggest that the ice sheets — more so than ice loss from Earth’s mountain glaciers and ice caps — have become “the dominant contributor to global sea level rise, much sooner than model forecasts have predicted.”

This study, the longest to date examining changes to polar ice sheet mass, combined two decades of monthly satellite measurements with regional atmospheric climate model data to study changes in mass.

“That ice sheets will dominate future sea level rise is not surprising — they hold a lot more ice mass than mountain glaciers,” said lead author Eric Rignot, jointly of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine.

“What is surprising is this increased contribution by the ice sheets is already happening,” he said.

Under the current trends, he said, sea level is likely to be “significantly higher” than levels projected by Read more…