If rising global temperatures cause the ice streams of Western Antarctica to break up, major cities and agricultural heartlands the world over would be submerged. Researchers from the University of Leeds’ School of Geography are set to embark on a £1m, three-year project to find out exactly how stable they are.
The project, the biggest of its kind to date, will drill up to 2.2km down into the Rutford ice stream in Western Antarctica to determine its stability and see how close it is to breaking up.
There are about a dozen ice streams in Western Antarctica, moving currents of ice on the ice sheet which are hundreds of kilometres long and up to 25km wide. It is thought that if they begin to melt they could break up, leading to even more rapid melting and a disastrous increase in sea levels.
Vanessa Bridge | University of Leeds
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