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Antarctica Underwater Melting Worse Than Thought, Study Finds

Image: Antarctica Underwater Melting Worse Than Thought, Study Finds
Underwater melting beneath Antarctica is worse than originally thought, a study shows. (Achim Baqué/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Monday, 02 April 2018 05:50 PM

A new study found hidden underwater melting beneath Antarctica is much worse than previously thought and could become the largest source of sea-level rise.

The study published Monday in Nature Geoscience said melt-off underwater is doubling every 20 years, as shown by the first complete underwater map of the region.

The base of ice shrank 1,463 square kilometers between 2010 and 2016, an area the size of Greater London. Scientists attributed the melting to climate change and said global projections of sea level rise could be revised upward due to the new measurements, The Guardian reported.

Before the new study and map, the Antarctic was viewed as stable, and viewable land and sea ice had not changed dramatically in the south, with more change in the far north.

“What’s happening is that Antarctica is being melted away at its base. We can’t see it, because it’s happening below the sea surface,” study author Professor Andrew Shepherd said, The Guardian reported. “The changes mean that very soon the sea level contribution from Antarctica could outstrip that from Greenland.”

The retreat at the grounding line underwater was found to be more than five times the rate of 25 km per year above the surface, Science Daily reported.

The research was done by the UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) at the University of Leeds.

Although the retreat of the Thwaites Glacier grounding line has increased in West Antarctica, a nearby Pine Island Glacier, which had been retreating quickly, has recently halted its retreat. 

“These differences emphasize the complex nature of ice sheet instability across the continent,” lead researcher Dr. Hannes Konrad said, Science Daily reported. 

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A new study found hidden underwater melting beneath Antarctica is much worse than previously thought and could become the largest source of sea-level rise.
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2018-50-02
Monday, 02 April 2018 05:50 PM
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