A Texas-Sized Area of Antarctica Turned to Slush Last Year

AWARE instruments in Antarctica. Image: Colin Jenkinson/Australian Bureau of Meteorology
A slush puddle nearly twice the size of California appeared in Antarctica in January of 2016, according to a new paper in Nature Communications that marks one of the first times scientists have documented the fact that Antarctica is actually melting from above because of warm air.

By Lisa Cumming | MOTHERBOARD

Researchers have known for years that warming ocean water is melting the coastal ice shelves of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). But surface melt is harder to track and understand. In this study, scientists found that warm air is also melting the WAIS from above.

Number of days in January 2016 when surface melt was detected from passive microwave satellite observations. Image: Julien Nicolas/Ohio State University

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