Sydney (AFP) – The largest glacier inwards East Antarctica, containing H2O ice equivalent to a six-metre (20-foot) ascension inwards global sea levels, is melting due to warm sea water, Australian scientists said on Monday.
The 120-kilometre (74.4 mile) long Totten Glacier, which is to a greater extent than than thirty kilometres wide, had been idea to move inwards an expanse untouched past times warmer currents.
“We knew that the glacier was thinning from the satellite data, in addition to nosotros didn’t know why,” the voyage’s principal scientist Steve Rintoul told AFP.
He said that upwards until lately the East Antarctica H2O ice canvass had been idea surrounded past times mutual depression temperature waters in addition to so really stable in addition to unlikely to alter much.
But the voyage flora that waters approximately the glacier were some 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than other areas visited on the same trip during the southern hemisphere summer.
“We made it to the forepart of the glacier in addition to nosotros measured temperatures that were warm plenty to drive meaning melt,” Rintoul said.
“And so the fact that warm H2O tin accomplish this glacier is a sign that East Antarctica is potentially to a greater extent than vulnerable to changes inwards the sea driven past times climate alter than nosotros used to think.”
Previous expeditions had been unable to become unopen to the glacier due to heavy ice, but Rintoul said the weather condition had held for the Aurora Australis icebreaker in addition to a squad of scientists in addition to technicians from the Australian Antarctic Division in addition to other bodies.
Rintoul said the glacier was non virtually to melt solely overnight in addition to campaign a six-metre ascension inwards sea levels, but the query was of import every bit scientists essay to predict how changes inwards sea temperatures volition touching on H2O ice sheets.
“This report is a stride towards ameliorate agreement of just which parts of the H2O ice sheets are vulnerable to sea warming in addition to that is the variety of information that nosotros tin so role to improve our predictions of hereafter sea flat rises,” he said.
“East Antarctica is non every bit protected from alter every bit nosotros role to think,” he said.
The melt charge per unit of measurement of glaciers inwards the fastest-melting business office of Antarctica has tripled over the past times decade, analysis of the past times 21 years showed, according to query published final month.