Saturday, June 17, 2017

Scientists Saw a Nearly Unheard of Antarctic Meltdown

Surface melt became widespread over West Antarctica in January 2016. (Credit: Nicolas et al,. 2017) Click to Enlarge.
Antarctica is unfreezing.  In the past few months alone, researchers have chronicled a seasonal waterfall, widespread networks of rivers and melt ponds, and an iceberg the size of Delaware on the brink of breaking away from the thawing landscape.

A new study published in Nature Communications only adds to the disturbing trend of change afoot in Antarctica.  Researchers have documented rain on a continent more known for snow and widespread surface melt in West Antarctica last summer, one of the most unstable parts of a continent that’s already being eaten away by warm waters below the ice.

The findings, published Thursday, indicate that last year’s super El NiƱo played a large role in driving the meltdown, but researchers are concerned that overlaying natural climate patterns onto the long-term warming driven by carbon pollution could put Antarctica’s ice in an even more precarious position.

“There’s a substantial loss of ice going on from warm water eating away at the bottom of some critical ice shelves,” David Bromwich, a climate modeler at Ohio State, said.  “If we move into the future and we’ve got a lot of melting from the top as well, that means things would proceed even faster.  It’s not a good prescription.”

Read more at Scientists Saw a Nearly Unheard of Antarctic Meltdown

No comments:

Post a Comment