Sunday , May 16 2021

A new study highlights the complexity of warming and melting in Antarctica [Report]



In a study released Climate change climateToday's site, scientists draw from recent findings to highlight the multilateral dynamics of Antarctic melting. The authors of the study come from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, the Cooperatist Institute for Environmental Science Research at the University of Colorado Boulder and Rowan University.


Antarctica is often thought of as a cold, tall and dry place – all of this is certainly true for the largest ice sheet of the Earth, which is currently blocking about 58 meters of sea level rise. However, recent studies indicate that in a heating future the surface of the ice sheet in Antarctica will melt. Whether this new water collects in lakes, moves into rivers or absorbs in close snow as a sponge, has enormous consequences for the rise of the sea level around the globe.

Today, Antarctica loses most of its mass of ice by melting down from the ocean and breaking icebergs. But recent research indicates more and more that it can not always be that way. As global temperatures continue to rise, Antarctica may progress progressively with ice loss from top to bottom due to a heating atmosphere. In fact, recent modeling works have shown that it could actually be a warmer atmosphere that drives Antarctica's main contributions to sea level rise this century. This modeling work has been amplified by the observations of the past decades in the Antarctic peninsula, where several ice shelves broke apart because of the warmer air that causes the surface to melt. This melting generated large lakes of melting water that caused ice breakage and rupture. Once this decomposition occurs, ice in the Antarctic is accelerating in the ocean.

However, in the continuous understanding of the evolution of meltwater production in Antarctica, the authors also demonstrate that a heating atmosphere is only a consideration; large-scale winds and feedback may be even more important to drive smelting. For example, this warmer atmosphere can lead to more snow, which, perhaps counterintuitive, could suppress melting, creating at the same time more of a sponge so it can absorb the melted water.

Understanding what happens to molten water after training is a critical issue that needs to be resolved. Science has gained an understanding in Greenland, where a much larger melting of today's surface occurs. For example, in Greenland, we know that fused water can slip through snow and underground wire, forming huge aquifers. If such features begin to form on Antarctic ice shelves, they could threaten future ice stability. However, Antarctic ice shelves are not the only things we should take care of in the future. If there is a sufficient melting surface on the grounded Antarctic ice, part of this water could reach the base of the ice sheet and could affect the flow of ice into the ocean, as is already happening under much of the ice sheet Greenland.

Finally, the authors argue that tackling how Antarctica will respond to climate change is an increasingly complex task and has created new questions and an urgent need for a concerted, multidisciplinary and international effort. They write that observations are needed today from the earth and space, and it is imperative that ice sheets and climate models represent the different processes that affect melting and hydrology in Antarctica. Due to the potential of Antarctica to greatly change the overall sea level, these are urgent concerns that require increased scientific attention.

More information:
Robin E. Bell et al. Antarctic surface hydrology and impact on ice mass balance, Climate change climate (2018). DOI: 10.1038 / s41558-018-0326-3

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In a study released Climate change climateToday's site, scientists draw from recent findings to highlight the multilateral dynamics of Antarctic melting. The authors of the study come from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, the Cooperatist Institute for Environmental Science Research at the University of Colorado Boulder and Rowan University.

Antarctica is often thought of as a cold, tall and dry place – all of this is certainly true for the largest ice sheet of the Earth, which is currently blocking about 58 meters of sea level rise. However, recent studies indicate that in a heating future the surface of the ice sheet in Antarctica will melt. Whether this new water collects in lakes, moves into rivers or absorbs in close snow as a sponge, has enormous consequences for the rise of the sea level around the globe.

Today, Antarctica loses most of its mass of ice by melting down from the ocean and breaking icebergs. But recent research indicates more and more that it can not always be that way. As global temperatures continue to rise, Antarctica may progress progressively with ice loss from top to bottom due to a heating atmosphere. In fact, recent modeling works have shown that it could actually be a warmer atmosphere that drives Antarctica's main contributions to sea level rise this century. This modeling work has been amplified by the observations of the past decades in the Antarctic peninsula, where several ice shelves broke apart because of the warmer air that causes the surface to melt. This melting generated large lakes of melting water that caused ice breakage and rupture. Once this decomposition occurs, ice in the Antarctic is accelerating in the ocean.

However, in the continuous understanding of the evolution of meltwater production in Antarctica, the authors also demonstrate that a heating atmosphere is only a consideration; large-scale winds and feedback may be even more important to drive smelting. For example, this warmer atmosphere can lead to more snow, which, perhaps counterintuitive, could suppress melting, creating at the same time more of a sponge so it can absorb the melted water.

Understanding what happens to molten water after training is a critical issue that needs to be resolved. Science has gained an understanding in Greenland, where a much larger melting of today's surface occurs. For example, in Greenland, we know that fused water can slip through snow and underground wire, forming huge aquifers. If such features begin to form on Antarctic ice shelves, they could threaten future ice stability. However, Antarctic ice shelves are not the only things we should take care of in the future. If there is a sufficient melting surface on the grounded Antarctic ice, part of this water could reach the base of the ice sheet and could affect the flow of ice into the ocean, as is already happening under much of the ice sheet Greenland.

Finally, the authors argue that tackling how Antarctica will respond to climate change is an increasingly complex task and has created new questions and an urgent need for a concerted, multidisciplinary and international effort. They write that observations are needed today from the earth and space, and it is imperative that ice sheets and climate models represent the different processes that affect melting and hydrology in Antarctica. Due to the potential of Antarctica to greatly change the overall sea level, these are urgent concerns that require increased scientific attention.

More information:
Robin E. Bell et al. Antarctic surface hydrology and impact on ice mass balance, Climate change climate (2018). DOI: 10.1038 / s41558-018-0326-3

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