A new study of satellite data from the last 19 years reveals that fresh water from melting glaciers has caused the sea-level around the coast of Antarctica to rise by 2cm more than the global average of 6cm.
Researchers at the University of Southampton detected the rapid rise in sea-level by studying satellite scans of a region that spans more than a million square kilometres.
The melting of the Antarctic ice sheet and the thinning of floating ice shelves has contributed an excess of around 350 gigatonnes of freshwater to the surrounding ocean. This has led to a reduction in the salinity of the surrounding oceans that has been corroborated by ship-based studies of the water.
"Freshwater is less dense than salt water and so in regions where an excess of freshwater has accumulated we expect a localised rise in sea level," says Craig Rye, lead author of the paper that has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
In addition to satellite observations, the researchers also conducted computer simulations of the effect of melting glaciers on the Antarctic Ocean. The results of the simulation closely mirrored the real-world picture presented by the satellite data.
"The computer model supports our theory that the sea-level rise we see in our satellite data is almost entirely caused by freshening (a reduction in the salinity of the water) from the melting of the ice sheet and its fringing ice shelves," says Craig.
"The interaction between air, sea and ice in these seas is central to the stability of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and global sea levels, as well as other environmental processes, such as the generation of Antarctic bottom water, which cools and ventilates much of the global ocean abyss."
The research was carried out in close collaboration with researchers at the National Oceanography Centre and the British Antarctic Survey.
Notes to editors
1. Picture: Icicles formed by the melting of a glacier in west Antarctica. The melt here is rapid and has been accelerating, injecting greater quantities of freshwater into the ocean and raising sea levels. Credit: Mike Meredith
High-res version available on request.
2. The full paper Rapid sea-level rise along the Antarctic margins in response to increased glacial discharge is published in Nature Geoscience. For a full version of the paper please contact the media relations team.
3. Through world-leading research and enterprise activities, the University of Southampton connects with businesses to create real-world solutions to global issues. Through its educational offering, it works with partners around the world to offer relevant, flexible education, which trains students for jobs not even thought of. This connectivity is what sets Southampton apart from the rest; we make connections and change the world. http://www.southampton.ac.uk/
For further information contact:
Follow us on twitter: http://twitter.com/unisouthampton
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/unisouthampton
Steven Williams | Eurek Alert!
Ocean acidification makes coralline algae less robust
08.02.2016 | University of Bristol
In the Southern Ocean, a carbon-dioxide mystery comes clear
04.02.2016 | The Earth Institute at Columbia University
Researchers at King’s College London and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom have for the first time demonstrated a direct link between the Wbp2 gene and progressive hearing loss. The scientists report that the loss of Wbp2 expression leads to progressive high-frequency hearing loss in mouse as well as in two clinical cases of children with deafness with no other obvious features. The results are published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.
The scientists have shown that hearing impairment is linked to hormonal signalling rather than to hair cell degeneration. Wbp2 is known as a transcriptional...
Pollens, the bane of allergy sufferers, could represent a boon for battery makers: Recent research has suggested their potential use as anodes in lithium-ion batteries.
"Our findings have demonstrated that renewable pollens could produce carbon architectures for anode applications in energy storage devices," said Vilas Pol, an...
Automobiles increase the mobility of their users. However, their maneuverability is pushed to the limit by cramped inner city conditions. Those who need to...
Advance in biomedical imaging: The University of Würzburg's Biocenter has enhanced fluorescence microscopy to label and visualise up to nine different cell structures simultaneously.
Fluorescence microscopy allows researchers to visualise biomolecules in cells. They label the molecules using fluorescent probes, excite them with light and...
NASA's follow-on to the successful ICESat mission will employ a never-before-flown technique for determining the topography of ice sheets and the thickness of sea ice, but that won't be the only first for this mission.
Slated for launch in 2018, NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) also will carry a 3-D printed part made of polyetherketoneketone (PEKK),...
02.02.2016 | Event News
26.01.2016 | Event News
26.01.2016 | Event News
09.02.2016 | Life Sciences
09.02.2016 | Life Sciences
08.02.2016 | Earth Sciences