Tags: antarctic | grativy | shifting | ice | melts

Antarctic Gravity Shifting as Ice Melts, Study Shows

By    |   Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 07:50 PM

Enough ice has melted in West Antarctica to cause a shift in gravity, a study by the European Space Agency has revealed.

A four-year satellite study of the Earth’s gravity has produced the most accurate gravity model ever made, the ESA said in a press release. The Earth’s gravity varies from place to place depending on factors such as the planet’s rotation and the position of mountains and ocean trenches — and the mass of large sheets of ice.

Scientists have found that "the loss of ice from West Antarctica between 2009 and 2012 caused a dip in the gravity field over the region" and that "between 2011 and 2014, Antarctica as a whole has been shrinking in volume by 125 cubic kilometers a year," the ESA wrote.

While the change in gravity is very small, “the new measurements confirm global warming is changing the Antarctic in fundamental ways,” Slate reported.

The gravity model was created by combining measurements from the ESA satellite with a lower resolution satellite mission called Grace. The data was analyzed by scientists from the German Geodetic Research Institute, Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, the Jet Propulsion Lab in the United States, and the Technical University of Munich in Germany. Researchers now are working to extend the analysis of the data to all of Antarctica, Johannes Bouman from the German Geodetic Research Institute said in the ESA press release.

An ESA animation shows the change.



Twitter users expressed concerns.





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Enough ice has melted in West Antarctica to cause a shift in gravity, a study by the European Space Agency has revealed.
antarctic, grativy, shifting, ice, melts
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2014-50-01
Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 07:50 PM
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