New high-resolution maps of the complex landscape beneath a major West Antarctic glacier will be valuable for forecasting global sea level rise, researchers say.
Radar surveys of the land beneath Pine Island Glacier, obtained by snowmobile, have revealed a surprisingly diverse, mountainous landscape under the ice.
The findings are significant as Pine Island Glacier is the fastest melting glacier in Antarctica and currently accounts for up to 10 per cent of global sea level rise.
Ice melting into the ocean in the region is expected to increase as the climate warms and the West Antarctic ice sheet continues to thin.
The survey of the glacier, the most detailed to date, was carried out during the Antarctic summer of 2013 - 2014 by a team working round the clock. Snow vehicles equipped with radar sensors surveyed about 1500 sq km of ice, taking readings every few hundred metres.
The findings represent significant progress in the data available to inform forecasts of ice loss. Previous computer models used less comprehensive data from aerial radar surveys, which did not account for a range of ice bed shapes and the effects these could have on glacier friction.
The study shows that the diverse nature of the terrain beneath the glacier is the biggest factor affecting the flow of the ice across the landscape.
Scientists will incorporate the new findings into computer models used to project the glacier's future.
The study, published in Nature Communications, was led by the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey, the Universities of Swansea, Exeter and Aberdeen, and partners in the US and New Zealand. It was funded under the Natural Environment Research Council's iSTAR programme.
Dr Robert Bingham, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, who led the research, said: "Detailed understanding of this diverse landscape, and how that will impact on ice melt from Antarctica's fastest disappearing important glacier, will give us valuable clues as to how warming in this region will impact on global sea level."
Damon Davies, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, who took part in the research, said: "Pine Island Glacier is a key contributor to sea level rise, so this major step forward in understanding its dynamics will help improve our predictions of ice melt into the ocean."
Professor David Vaughan from British Antarctic Survey, who co-led the study, said: "These maps have revealed new features under Pine Island Glacier that we never thought were there. The bed turns out to be much rougher than we thought. There are mountains and deep scour marks which are clearly going to be influencing the flow and behaviour of the ice. In order to really understand how the glacier is going to respond to future change, we need to understand its interaction with the bed and these high resolution maps let us begin to do this."
Catriona Kelly | EurekAlert!
Novel method for investigating pore geometry in rocks
18.06.2018 | Kyushu University, I2CNER
Decades of satellite monitoring reveal Antarctic ice loss
14.06.2018 | University of Maryland
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...
Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
18.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
18.06.2018 | Process Engineering
18.06.2018 | Life Sciences