Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lie of the land beneath glaciers influences impact on sea levels

Date:
July 12, 2011
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Fresh research into glaciers could help scientists better predict the impact of changing climates on global sea levels.

Fresh research into glaciers could help scientists better predict the impact of changing climates on global sea levels.

Scientists have shown for the first time that the terrain beneath glaciers influences how much glacier melt contributes to fluctuations in sea levels.

Researchers say the study will improve their understanding of how ice sheet movements have affected sea levels in the past, and will enable more accurate projections of future change.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh studied the Slessor glacier in the Weddell Sea bay in Antarctica, and found surprising evidence that ice thickness in the region has not changed markedly since the past ice age.

Researchers say that this is because during the last ice age, sea levels were lower, which would be expected to extend the land over which the ice travelled slowly towards the sea, thickening as it went. However, a large trough in the land caused the glacier to float instead, moving more quickly and preventing its thickening.

This means the ice thickness has not varied markedly with climate or sea level change and has had little impact on sea levels or the volume of ice in Antarctica.

Being able to anticipate the dynamics of the ice sheet in response to changing climates helps scientists predict shifts in global sea levels.

The study, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society, was published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters and unveiled at the International Symposium of Antarctic Earth Sciences in Edinburgh.

Dr Andrew Hein, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Geosciences, said: "This finding is remarkable. We expected to show that the Slessor glacier had thinned significantly since the last ice age, in common with other glaciers in Antarctica. But it is possible to step off the glacier and on to rocks that have been untouched by ice for more than 100,000 years. To understand the behaviour of big glaciers, it is important to understand their landscapes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrew S. Hein, Christopher J. Fogwill, David E. Sugden, Sheng Xu. Glacial/interglacial ice-stream stability in the Weddell Sea embayment, Antarctica. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2011; 307 (1-2): 211 DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2011.04.037

Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Lie of the land beneath glaciers influences impact on sea levels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110712094156.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2011, July 12). Lie of the land beneath glaciers influences impact on sea levels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110712094156.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Lie of the land beneath glaciers influences impact on sea levels." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110712094156.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins