29 Jun '11, 8am

Ocean Currents Speeding Melting Glaciers

Ocean Currents Speeding Melting Glaciers

New research has shown that strong ocean currents running under the West Antrarctic’s Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf are eating away at the ice from below, contributing to the rapid decline in the shelf’s mass, thus increasing the amount of meltwater running into the oceans. The new study, which appears in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows that over the last few decades, the Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf has detached from an underwater ridge which has allowed more of the glacier to interact with deeper, and subsequently warmer, currents. The glacier is believed to have detached sometime prior to the 1970s, and since then, warmer water has been eating away at more and more of the glacier as it slides into the water. As a result, a growing cavity beneath the ice shelf has formed, which itself allows more warm water to melt the ice, creating a feedback loop of melting and w...

Full article: http://planetsave.com/2011/06/29/ocean-currents-speeding-...

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