Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Warm sea water is melting Antarctic glaciers

Date:
December 6, 2012
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
The ice sheet in West Antarctica is melting faster than expected. New observations may improve our ability to predict future changes in ice sheet mass.

The ice sheet in West Antarctica is melting faster than expected. New observations published by oceanographers from the University of Gothenburg and the US may improve our ability to predict future changes in ice sheet mass. The study was recently published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Related Articles


A reduction of the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland will affect the water levels of the world's oceans.

It is therefore problematic that we currently have insufficient knowledge about the ocean circulation near large glaciers in West Antarctica. This means that researchers cannot predict how water levels will change in the future with any large degree of certainty.

"There is a clear reduction in the ice mass in West Antarctica, especially around the glaciers leading into the Amundsen Sea," says researcher Lars Arneborg from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Gothenburg.

Together with his research colleagues Anna Wåhlin, Göran Björk and Bengt Liljebladh, he has studied the ocean circulation in the Amundsen Sea.

One reason why West Antarctica is particularly sensitive is that the majority of the ice rests on areas that are below sea level. Warm sea water penetrates beneath the ice, causing increased melting from underneath.

"It is therefore probably a change in the ocean circulation in the Amundsen Sea that has caused this increased melting," continues Arneborg.

Until now, researchers have been referred to studies that use high-resolution computer models.

"But there have been very few oceanographic measurements from the Amundsen Sea to confirm or contradict the results from the computer models. Nor has there been any winter data. Sea ice and icebergs have made it impossible to get there in the winter, and it isn't easy to have instruments in place all year round."

However, since 2010 the researchers from Gothenburg have managed to have instruments positioned in the Amundsen Sea, enabling them to measure the inward flow of warm sea water towards the glaciers.

The observations show that the warm sea water flows towards the glaciers in a more or less constand current all year round, in contrast to the model results which suggested a strong seasonal cycle.

"This shows just how important observations are for investigating whether the models we use describe something that resembles reality. Warm ocean currents have caused much more melting than any model has predicted, both in West Antarctica and around Greenland.

The researchers want more and longer time series of oceanographic observations in order to improve the models and achieve a better understanding.

"Only then will we be able to say something about how the ice masses of the Antarctic and Greenland will change in the future."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. L. Arneborg, A. K. Wåhlin, G. Björk, B. Liljebladh, A. H. Orsi. Persistent inflow of warm water onto the central Amundsen shelf. Nature Geoscience, 2012; 5 (12): 876 DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1644

Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Warm sea water is melting Antarctic glaciers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121206094505.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2012, December 6). Warm sea water is melting Antarctic glaciers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121206094505.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Warm sea water is melting Antarctic glaciers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121206094505.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) — Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) — A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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