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.”
Lars Arneborg, Department of Earth Sciences
Tel.: +46 (0)31 786 2886, e-mail: email@example.com
More articles from Earth Sciences:
NASA satellite sees developing tropical depression near Philippines
18.06.2013 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Second Atlantic season tropical depression forms
18.06.2013 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
... two engines aircraft project “Elektro E6”.
The countdown has been started for opening the gates again for the worldwide leading aviation and space event in Le Bourget, Paris from June 17th - 23rd, 2013.
EADCO & PC-Aero will present at the Paris Air Show in Hall H4 booth F-7 their new future aircraft and innovative project: ...
Siemens scientists have developed new kinds of ceramics in which they can embed transformers.
The new development allows power supply transformers to be reduced to one fifth of their current size so that the normally separate switched-mode power supply units of light-emitting diodes can be integrated into the module's heat sink.
The new technology was developed in cooperation with industrial and research partners who ...
Cheaper clean-energy technologies could be made possible thanks to a new discovery.
Led by Raymond Schaak, a professor of chemistry at Penn State University, research team members have found that an important chemical reaction that generates hydrogen from water is effectively triggered -- or catalyzed -- by a nanoparticle composed of nickel and phosphorus, two inexpensive elements that are abundant on Earth. ...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT generated a lot of interest at the LASER World of Photonics 2013 trade fair with its numerous industrial laser technology innovations.
Its highlights included beam sources and manufacturing processes for ultrashort laser pulses as well as ways to systematically optimize machining processes using computer simulations. There was even a specialist booth at the fair dedicated to the revolutionary technological potential of digital photonic production.
Now in its fortieth year, LASER World ...
It's not reruns of "The Jetsons", but researchers working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a new microscopy technique that uses a process similar to how an old tube television produces a picture—cathodoluminescence—to image nanoscale features.
Combining the best features of optical and scanning electron microscopy, the fast, versatile, and high-resolution technique allows scientists to view surface and subsurface features potentially as small as 10 nanometers in size.
The new microscopy technique, described in the journal AIP Advances,* uses a beam of electrons to excite a specially ...
18.06.2013 | Materials Sciences
18.06.2013 | Health and Medicine
18.06.2013 | Life Sciences
14.06.2013 | Event News
13.06.2013 | Event News
10.06.2013 | Event News