According to the latest study, Antarctica has shed a chunk of ice which is almost the size of Greater London. The loss of ice sheet took place in the period of the year 2010 to 2016.
Approximately 1,463 sq km. of ice which was underwater melted in the time span due to the warm ocean water currents.
It was noted by the British-led study that the ice sheet had begun leaving ground from the edges, which is why the erosion of glaciers took place.
Dr. Hannes Konrad, the lead researcher of University of Leeds, said: “Our study provides clear evidence that retreat is happening across the ice sheet due to ocean melting at its base, and not just at the few spots that have been mapped before now.”
“This retreat has had a huge impact on inland glaciers, because releasing them from the seabed removes friction, causing them to speed up and contribute to global sea level rise.”
Researchers could gauge the situation by keeping an eye on the ice sheet’s “grounding line” through satellites. The “grounding line” is the limit line where the ice sheet base drifts away from the sea floor and starts floating.
Generally, the grounding line is found a kilometer or more below the surface of the ocean. It is not easily reachable even to the deep-diving submersibles.
The scientists added that the grounding line retreat was at extreme levels at eight locations. At these locations, 65 big glaciers of the sheet flow into the seas. In the last couple of years, about 125 meter (410ft) of ice had retreated.
However, the biggest challenge was in the West Antarctica region which saw one-fifth of the ice sheet withdraw across the sea floor at a rapid pace.
European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 orbiting satellite traced the movement for about 16,000 km (9,941 miles). The satellite can also check the changes in the ice sheet with respect to its thickness, etc.
The team from the journal Nature Geoscience, observed some odd behavior. The retreating of grounding line at Thwaites Glacier had paced up, whereas the one at Pine Island was stopped.
Dr Konrad said: “These differences emphasise the complex nature of ice sheet instability across the continent, and being able to detect them helps us to pinpoint areas that deserve further investigation.”
Information source: huffingtonpost
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