Disintegration of ice shelf protecting Antarctic glacier is accelerating – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-06-11 18:30:00 –

Satellite images show that important Antarctic glaciers are collapsing much faster than before, creating huge icebergs, which prevent them from collapsing into the ocean, according to new research. Looks more vulnerable.

The loss of ice shelves on the Pine Island Glacier accelerated in 2017, and scientists were worried that climate change would cause glacier collapse earlier than predicted for centuries. Floating ice shelves act like cork in bottles of rapidly melting glaciers, preventing much larger ice blocks from flowing into the ocean.

According to today’s Science Advances survey, the ice shelf receded 12 miles between 2017 and 2020. And the crumbling shelves were captured in a time-lapse video from a European satellite that takes pictures every six days.

Ian Joughin, a glaciologist at the University of Washington and lead author of the study, said: “That is, the speedup itself seems to be weakening the glacier … and so far it has lost 20% of the main shelf.”

Between 2017 and 2020, three major split events occurred, forming icebergs over 5 miles long and 22 miles wide, which were then split into a number of smaller pieces, Joughin said. I will. There were also many small divisions.

“It’s not entirely unthinkable that the entire shelf can give way and go within a few years,” Joughin said. “I think it’s a long shot, but it’s not that long.”

Joughin tracked two points on the main glacier and found that it was moving 12% faster towards the ocean since 2017.

“That means that ice from Pine will get 12% more into the ocean than it used to be,” he said.

The Pine Island Glacier, which is not on the island, has no pine trees and is one of the two side-by-side glaciers in West Antarctica that are most worried about glaciers losing on the continent. The other is the Sweat Glacier.

Pine Island has 180 trillion tonnes of ice, which is equivalent to 1.6 feet of sea level rise and is responsible for about a quarter of the continent’s ice loss.

“Pine Island and Swaite are currently the biggest concern because they are collapsing. After that, the rest of West Antarctica will be tracked according to almost every model,” said Isabellave, an ice scientist at the University of California, Irvine. Ricoh was not involved in the study.

Ice loss was part of climate change, but there was no extraordinary extra warming in the area that caused this acceleration, Joughin said.

“These scientific results continue to highlight the vulnerability of Antarctica, a major reservoir of potential sea level rise,” said Tuira Moon, a national snow and ice data scientist who did not participate in the study. Stated. “Repeat, other studies have confirmed that how Antarctica will evolve in the future depends on human greenhouse gas emissions.”

Disintegration of ice shelf protecting Antarctic glacier is accelerating Source link Disintegration of ice shelf protecting Antarctic glacier is accelerating

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