East Antarctica is also sliding into the sea: Totten glacier

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East Antarctica is also sliding into the sea: Totten glacier

Postby HBS Guy » 13 Nov 2017, 08:35

The Environment board on OzPol is going from bad to worse. Whining about the BoM not measuring temperatures ‘properly’ all based on Jennifer Marohasy’s writings.

All pointless waffle as the poles continue to melt:

Totten glacier in East Antarctica

The largest glacier in East Antarctica contains so much ice it could raise sea levels by at least 11 feet if it all melted — and research now shows the ice has been retreating because of warmer-than-usual waters brought on by strong winds.

Between 2001 and 2006, water just a couple of degrees warmer than usual caused ice in this region of Antarctica to flow toward the sea about 5 percent faster than usual, according to a study published today in Science Advances. That might not seem like much, but it actually means that ice was melting — in an area of Antarctica that’s largely been considered stable.

Yes, the East Antarctica Plateau might remain frozen—if warmer than even 20 years ago—but seems the ice sheets are still susceptible to melting and retreat of the glaciers draining the ice sheet. Where is the warm water coming from that is causing the retreat, in this case of the Totten glacier?

While West Antarctica has seen lots of changes, East Antarctica has generally been considered more stable, Walker says. But today’s study shows that that’s not the case: glaciers in this part of the continent are also experiencing melting. And with our planet warming up, things aren’t going to get better. “Up till now, we basically had a stationary ice sheet, and now it’s started to move,” says Walker, who was not involved in today’s research. The study adds to evidence that the Totten Glacier is “sort of the canary in the coal mine,” she says.

Totten is the biggest glacier in East Antarctica, says study co-author Chad Greene, a PhD student researching East Antartica at The University of Texas at Austin. And previous studies have shown that the glacier is melting from below: Totten, in fact, is rooted to ground rock deep below sea level, and that makes it vulnerable to warming ocean waters, Greene tells The Verge. The glacier is also holding back the vast Aurora Subglacial Basin, which is all underneath sea level. Totten is “serving as this little cork, I guess, or a plug to hold vast ice that’s just waiting to flow down,” Walker says. If all this ice melts, there’s the potential for many feet of sea level rise — so scientists have been trying to understand what’s happening at Totten.

This is all depressingly similar to the Jacobshavn and Petermann glaciers on Greenland, the glaciers rest on a floor a kilometre below sea level, if that ice face has warmer waters reaching it it is going to melt. The part of the Larsen C iceshelf that broke off had been thinned by warm air and warm waters: Totten is being thinned by warm water.

The findings don’t bode well for the future: climate change is expected to make those westerly winds that carry warm water from the deep ocean even stronger, and bring them closer to Antarctica itself. Ocean waters are also warming up overall, threatening to eat away at the ice. “You can melt ice a lot more quickly with warm water than you can with warm air,” Greene says. The glacier won’t collapse in our lifetime, he says, but understanding all the things at play that might cause the collapse is key to understand how high sea levels could rise.

A study published last month showed that strong winds and warmer than usual waters were also responsible for speeding up melting at four glaciers in Western Antarctica. Those glaciers though had the potential to raise sea levels by only a few millimeters. Totten could add more than 11 feet of water to the oceans, submerging cities like New York and Miami. It’d be “much more significant than we’ve ever seen in our lifetime,” Walker says.


So, yeah keep quibbling about BoM readings and watching stupid YouTubes about a non–existent ice age and crapping on about feedback loops that don’t exist for the most part guys. Maybe that comforts you.
Abbott & Co are going to cause the mother and father of all recessions—be prepared!
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