Rapid Antarctic ice melt being triggered by warm water, say researchers

A massive conduit of hot water was detected last year, measuring around 10 kilometres wide and 1 kilometre deep in front of the western side of the Totten Glacier.

By Zee Media Bureau | Last Updated: Dec 18, 2016, 16:33 PM IST
Rapid Antarctic ice melt being triggered by warm water, say researchers
(Image for representational purposes only)

New Delhi: Till a few months ago, scientists were baffled with the way the Antarctic region was left unaffected by the impact of climate change, while the Arctic's condition in comparison was deteriorating at a fast pace.

Soon after scientists could finally put a finger on the reason, they also noticed that the Antarctic was definitely losing ice, albeit gradually.

This month, scientists were left shocked after a massive rift in the Antarctic's ice shelf was spotted and now, during a new investigation, an international team of scientists found another reason for its slow decline – hot water.

On Friday, a team of researchers from the United States and Australia published a report discussing the issues and reasons behind the melt of world’s largest glacier, which indicated the increasing level of warm water to be the cause behind it. The report comprised the ice melt issue of world’s most massive ice sheet: Totten Glacier, East Antarctica. The research concluded with a troubling confirmation that – Totten is melting from below because of the warm water, The TeCake reported.

A massive conduit of hot water was detected last year, measuring around 10 kilometres wide and 1 kilometre deep in front of the western side of the Totten Glacier.

Scientists have expressed deep concern on the matter. As per The TeCake, the lead author of the study, Steve Rintoul said, “now it has become extremely-essential to know how the warm water in reaching and affecting the ice glacier of Antarctic. It is important to identify as the grounding line of the glacier have started serving as a type of socket that is restricting the speed ice usually flows, and is helping to hold back a huge amount of ice on top of sea level.”

The scientists' survey revealed that tempered sea water is reaching the hole of the Antarctic through a waterway and the temperatures of the water are causing the ice shelf to melt at the point where it falls on the ground.

This has resulted in the ice to melt abnormally, which in turn has caused global sea levels to rise approximately 3.5 meters in the past couple of years.