In the first such continent-wide survey, scientists have found extensive drainage of meltwater flowing over parts of Antarctica’s ice during the brief summer!
Scientists have just stumbled upon a shocking discovery in Antarctica. Researchers at Columbia University’s Earth Institute found that melting is occurring at a much faster pace than had previously, and it’s not going to decrease in the near future…
The findings published in the journal Nature, stated that there was an extensive amount of meltwater drainage that was flowing in parts of Antarctica where they didn’t expect it.
The Earth Institute also provided video (bellow) showing a 400 foot wide waterfall as a river of water cascaded down the Nansen ice shelf and into the ocean.
Nansen Ice Sheet, or Nansen Ice Shelf, is a 30-mile long by 10 mile wide ice shelf.
The discovery demonstrates that the problem is not in the future, but very much in the present. If the temperatures continue to rise, it’s likely to get worse.
“Researchers already knew such features existed, but assumed they were confined mainly to Antarctica’s fastest-warming, most northerly reaches. Many of the newly mapped drainages are not new, but the fact they exist at all is significant; they appear to proliferate with small upswings in temperature, so warming projected for this century could quickly magnify their influence on sea level.”
“This is not in the future–this is widespread now, and has been for decades,” said lead author Jonathan Kingslake, a glaciologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “I think most polar scientists have considered water moving across the surface of Antarctica to be extremely rare. But we found a lot of it, over very large areas.”
“We have no reason to think they have,” said Kingslake. “But without further work, we can’t tell. Now, looking forward, it will be really important to work out how these systems will change in response to warming, and how this will affect the ice sheets.”
See the Extreme Ice Changes Near the Antarctic Peninsula:
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