Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Warm sea water is melting Antarctic glaciers

06.12.2012
The ice sheet in West Antarctica is melting faster than expected.
New observations published by oceanographers from the University of Gothenburg and the US may improve our ability to predict future changes in ice sheet mass. The study was recently published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

A reduction in the inland ice in the Antarctic and on Greenland will affect the water levels of the world’s oceans.
It is therefore problematic that we currently have insufficient knowledge about the ocean circulation near large glaciers in West Antarctica. This means that researchers cannot predict how water levels will change in future with any degree of certainty.

“There is a clear reduction in the ice mass in West Antarctica, especially around the glaciers leading into the Amundsen Sea,” says researcher Lars Arneborg from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Gothenburg.

Together with his research colleagues Anna Wåhlin, Göran Björk and Bengt Liljebladh, he has studied the ocean circulation in the Amundsen Sea.

One reason why West Antarctica is particularly sensitive is that the majority of the ice rests on areas that are below sea level. Warm sea water penetrates beneath the ice, causing increased melting from underneath.

“It is therefore probably a change in the ocean circulation in the Amundsen Sea that has caused this increased melting,” continues Arneborg.

Until now, researchers have been referred to studies that use high-resolution computer models.

“But there have been very few oceanographic measurements from the Amundsen Sea to confirm or contradict the results from the computer models. Nor has there been any winter data. Sea ice and icebergs have made it impossible to get there in the winter, and it isn’t easy to have instruments in place all year round.”

However, since 2010 the researchers from Gothenburg have managed to have instruments positioned in the Amundsen Sea, enabling them to measure the inward flow of warm sea water against the glaciers.
The observations show that the warm sea water flows in against the glaciers in an even stream all year round, in contrast to the model results which suggested a strong annual cycle.

“This shows just how important observations are for investigating whether the models we use describe something that resembles reality. Warm ocean currents have caused much more melting than any model has predicted, both in West Antarctica and around Greenland.

The researchers want more and longer time series of observations in order to improve the models and achieve a better understanding.

“Only then will we be able to say anything about how the ice masses of the Antarctic and Greenland will change in the future.”

Contact:
Lars Arneborg, Department of Earth Sciences
Tel.: +46 (0)31 786 2886, e-mail: laar@gvc.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Biomass turnover time in ecosystems is halved by land use
23.08.2016 | Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

nachricht Diversity of habitats at natural oil seeps
22.08.2016 | MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften an der Universität Bremen

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Streamlining accelerated computing for industry

PyFR code combines high accuracy with flexibility to resolve unsteady turbulence problems

Scientists and engineers striving to create the next machine-age marvel--whether it be a more aerodynamic rocket, a faster race car, or a higher-efficiency jet...

Im Focus: X-ray optics on a chip

Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.

In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...

Im Focus: Piggyback battery for microchips: TU Graz researchers develop new battery concept

Electrochemists at TU Graz have managed to use monocrystalline semiconductor silicon as an active storage electrode in lithium batteries. This enables an integrated power supply to be made for microchips with a rechargeable battery.

Small electrical gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets or notebooks, are indispensable accompaniments of everyday life. Integrated circuits in the interiors...

Im Focus: UCI physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature

Light particle could be key to understanding dark matter in universe

Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according...

Im Focus: Wi-fi from lasers

White light from lasers demonstrates data speeds of up to 2 GB/s

A nanocrystalline material that rapidly makes white light out of blue light has been developed by KAUST researchers.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The energy transition is not possible without Geotechnics

25.08.2016 | Event News

New Ideas for the Shipping Industry

24.08.2016 | Event News

A week of excellence: 22 of the world’s best computer scientists and mathematicians in Heidelberg

12.08.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Spherical tokamak as model for next steps in fusion energy

25.08.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists identify spark plug that ignites nerve cell demise in ALS

25.08.2016 | Health and Medicine

Secure networks for the Internet of the future

25.08.2016 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>