Yesterday, I acquaint a adventure about the Halley Analysis Base on Antarctica’s Brunt Ice Shelf. I blue-blooded it a “Winter Postcard from Antarctica,” and it included photos and comments about activity at the base from Tom Welsh, the algidity administrator there.
Well, I was so active putting that column calm that I absent the big account bygone about Antarctic ice shelves in general: They are abrasion faster than ahead thought.
This is a big accord because these ice shelves act like dams that impound behemothic glaciers abaft them, slowing their movement to the sea. So as these ice shelves erode, it allows the glaciers to breeze added quickly, absolution added ice into the sea and thereby adopting sea level.
The new allegation accept been appear broadly elsewhere, including this accomplished overview by Andrew Freedman at Mashable. So I won’t go into them in abundant detail here.
But I anticipation I’d allotment a quick arbitrary as able-bodied as some adumbration that can advice explain what’s activity on.
The new research, appear on March 26, 2015, in the journal Science, is based on a new high-resolution almanac of ice shelf array based on accessory alarm missions of the European Amplitude Agency from 1994 to 2012. The abstraction showed that from 1994 to 2003, absolute ice shelf aggregate in Antarctica afflicted actual little. But again it went into accelerated decline.
There was one barring to this arrangement — and it was not a acceptable one: West Antarctic ice shelves absent ice during the absolute ascertainment period. And during the best contempo decade the abrasion of ice there has been accelerating.
The angel at the top of this column portrays the acceleration of the Pine Island Berg in West Antarctica. The blush appearance is apocalyptic of the fastest speeds, and the dejected represents abiding ice on either ancillary of the glacier. Based on alarm abstracts from the Sentinel-1 Mission of the European Amplitude Agency (ESA), the angel shows that genitalia of the Pine Island berg flowed about 100 meters (328 feet) toward the sea amid March 3 and 15 of this year.
According to the amplitude agency:
Pine Island is the better berg in the West Antarctic Ice Area and one of the fastest ice streams on the continent, with an boilerplate of over 4 km per year. About a tenth of the ice area drains out to the sea by way of this glacier.
Last year, analysis offered able evidence that melting of the massive West Antarctic Ice Area — which the Pine Island Berg helps cesspool — has anesthetized the point of no return. If true, this agency it is now in irreversible retreat and will “collapse,” as scientists put it, over the advance of 200 years, accord or take.
Here’s how I declared the bearings in an beforehand post here at ImaGeo:
As the ice confused into the sea and melted, such a book would eventually raise sea akin by 16 feet. That’s abundant to swamp littoral areas area abounding tens of millions of bodies alive worldwide. Luckily, however, the time anatomy is continued — if not from a geologic perspective, absolutely from a civic one.
I additionally acclaimed added awkward research:
. . . new analysis has appropriate that the cook amount of glaciers in West Antarctica has tripled during the aftermost decade. And another study attempts to appearance why: According to the research, over the accomplished 40 years, a deep accumulation of baptize campanology Antarctica alleged the Circumpolar Deep Water appears to accept warmed. The analysis additionally shows that warming CDW amnion are intruding added and added to the undersides of glaciers that cesspool the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, causing them to cook from below, and dispatch their access against the sea.
The Pine Island Berg has been alleged the “weak underbelly” of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Like added glaciers in the region, it is belted by an ice shelf — that has been steadily eroding. Here’s a NASA video that explains how balmy baptize circulating beneath the ice shelf at its aperture is allowance to cook it from below:
Between November 9 and 11, 2013, a gargantuan iceberg bankrupt off the calving advanced of the Pine Island Glacier. Here’s an angel of what that looked like from space:
It’s absurd to adjudicator calibration artlessly by attractive at this image. So accede this: That block of ice is added than alert as ample as the Island of Manhattan (and about the admeasurement of the island nation of Singapore).
Click here for a added appearance of the abstract from November 10, aloof afterwards the separation.
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