This Melting Glacier in Antarctica Could Raise Sea Levels By 11 Feet


The Totten Ice Shelf. Image: Esmee van Wijk (CSIRO and ACE CRC)
The Totten Ice Shelf. Image: Esmee van Wijk (CSIRO and ACE CRC)
The Earth’s climate, it seems, isn’t listening to the politicians that are insisting it’s not warming. The temperature continues to rise incrementally, and the globe’s large glaciers—giant vaults of stored water—continue to melt, releasing into the oceans. The global sea level, due to thermal expansion and glacial melting, continues to rise, building up a head of steam like a train just beginning its descent down a steep hill.

By Grennan Milliken | MOTHERBOARD

Greenland’s hulking glacier and the Arctic Sea ice are now marked by their rapid melting. And the western Antarctic ice sheet has garnered a lot of attention recently, too. But while scientists were fretting over the western side of Antarctica, the eastern Antarctic ice sheet has been melting too. Australian researchers braved treacherous sea conditions to collect data on the melting Totten Ice Shelf there, which holds up a body of ice that would cause over 11 feet of sea level rise, if it melted. Their findings are published in the journal Science Advances.

Scientists have concluded that ice shelves and glaciers in eastern Antarctica have been experiencing basal melt, where the bottom layer of a body of ice starts to melt away, but they’ve never directly observed how it’s happening and what the main drivers of melting are until now.

read more