Nav: Home

Antarctic study identifies melting ice sheet's role in sea level rise

February 03, 2016

Loss of ice in Antarctica caused by a warming ocean could raise global sea levels by three metres, research suggests.

Scientists carrying out fieldwork in the region have assessed the landscape to determine how the West Antarctic ice sheet might respond to increasing global temperatures.

In the first study of its kind, researchers were able to gauge how levels of ice covering the land have changed over hundreds of thousands of years. They did so by studying peaks protruding through ice in the Ellsworth Mountains, on the Atlantic flank of Antarctica.

The team assessed changes on slopes at various heights on the mountainside, which indicate levels previously reached by the ice sheet. They also mapped the distribution of boulders on the mountainside, which were deposited by melting glaciers. Chemical technology - known as exposure dating - showed how long rocks had been exposed to the atmosphere, and their age.

Their results indicate that during previous warm periods, a substantial amount of ice would have been lost from the West Antarctic ice sheet by ocean melting, but it would not have melted entirely. This suggests that ice would have been lost from areas below sea level, but not on upland areas.

The study shows that parts of the West Antarctic ice sheet have existed continuously for at least 1.4 million years.

The study, published in Nature Communications, was carried out by researchers at the University of Edinburgh with Northumbria University and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre. It was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council and the British Antarctic Survey.

Dr Andrew Hein, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, joint leader of the study, said: "Our findings narrow the margin of uncertainty around the likely impact of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet on sea level rise. This remains a troubling forecast since all signs suggest the ice from West Antarctica could disappear relatively quickly."

Professor John Woodward of the University of Northumbria, who co-led the study, said: "It is possible that the ice sheet has passed the point of no return and, if so, the big question is how much will go and how much will sea levels rise."
-end-


University of Edinburgh

Related Ice Sheet Articles:

Collapse of the European ice sheet caused chaos
Scientists have reconstructed in detail the collapse of the Eurasian ice sheet at the end of the last ice age.
Oversized landforms discovered beneath the Antarctic ice sheet
A team of scientists led by the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB, Belgium) and the Bavarian Academy of Sciences (Germany) have now discovered an active hydrological system of water conduits and sediment ridges below the Antarctic ice sheet.
Climate change clues revealed by ice sheet collapse
The rapid decline of ancient ice sheets could help scientists predict the impact of modern-day climate and sea-level change, according to research by the universities of Stirling in Scotland and Tromsø in Norway.
Last remnant of North American ice sheet on track to vanish
The last piece of the ice sheet that once blanketed much of North America is doomed to disappear in the next several centuries, says a new study by researchers at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and the University of Colorado Boulder.
Mysterious 'crater' on Antarctica indication of vulnerable ice sheet
The East Antarctic ice sheet is more vulnerable than expected, due to a strong wind that brings warm air and blows away the snow.
New study shows impact of Antarctic Ice Sheet on climate change
An international team of researchers has concluded that the Antarctic Ice Sheet actually plays a major role in regional and global climate variability -- a discovery that may also help explain why sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere has been increasing despite the warming of the rest of the Earth.
East Greenland ice sheet has responded to climate change over the last 7.5 million
Using marine sediment cores containing isotopes of aluminum and beryllium, a group of international researchers has discovered that East Greenland experienced deep, ongoing glacial erosion over the past 7.5 million years.
Historic shrinking of Antarctic Ice Sheet linked to CO2 spike
Twenty-three million years ago, the Antarctic Ice Sheet began to shrink, going from an expanse larger than today's to one about half its modern size.
Tracking the amount of sea ice from the Greenland ice sheet
The Greenland ice sheet records information about Arctic climate going back more than 120.000 years.
This week from AGU: Greenland's thawing ice sheet, Nepal's landslides, and more
This week from AGU are papers on Greenland's thawing ice sheet, Nepal's landslides, and four more research spotlights.

Related Ice Sheet Reading:

[Music Sheet] Yuri!!! on ICE Official Sheet Music Collection Piano de Hiku - Piano Solo/Rendan
by Yamaha Music Media (Author), taro umebayashi a.k.a milk (Composer), taku matsushiba (Composer)

Score book of hit series "Yuri on Ice" featuring 8 songs music sheet. View Details


Glacial Geology: Ice Sheets and Landforms
by Matthew M. Bennett (Editor), Neil F. Glasser (Editor)

The new Second Edition of Glacial Geology provides a modern, comprehensive summary of glacial geology and geomorphology. It is has been thoroughly revised and updated from the original First Edition. This book will appeal to all students interested in the landforms and sediments that make up glacial landscapes.

The aim of the book is to outline glacial landforms and sediments and to provide the reader with the tools required to interpret glacial landscapes. It describes how glaciers work and how the processes of glacial erosion and deposition which operate within them are recorded... View Details


Ice Castles, Theme from (Through the Eyes of Love) Sheet Piano/Vocal/Chords
by Alfred (Publisher)

Features. Category - Sheet. Format - Sheet. Instrument - PianoVocalChords. Version - PianoVocalChords. Music by Marvin Hamlisch lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager View Details


Theme From Ice Castles (Through The Eyes Of Love) [Sheet Music]
by Carole Bayer & Hamlisch, Marvin Sager (Author)

Sheet music 1978 4p. 12.00x9.00 VOCAL PIANO MUSIC View Details


Movie Classics: E-Z Play Today Volume 293 (E-Z Play Today, 293)
by Hal Leonard Corp. (Creator)

(E-Z Play Today). 35 songs, including: An Affair to Remember (Our Love Affair) * Buttons and Bows * A Certain Smile * Theme from Ice Castles (Through the Eyes of Love) * Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing * Moon River * New York, New York * Over the Rainbow * The Shadow of Your Smile * Singin' in the Rain * A Time for Us (Love Theme) * The Way We Were * We're off the See the Wizard * Where the Boys Are * and more. View Details


Dynamics of Ice Sheets and Glaciers (Advances in Geophysical and Environmental Mechanics and Mathematics)
by Ralf Greve (Author), Heinz Blatter (Author)

Dynamics of Ice Sheets and Glaciers presents an introduction to the dynamics and thermodynamics of flowing ice masses on Earth. Based on an outline of general continuum mechanics, the different initial-boundary-value problems for the flow of ice sheets, ice shelves, ice caps and glaciers are systematically derived. Special emphasis is put on developing hierarchies of approximations for the different systems, and suitable numerical solution techniques are discussed. A separate chapter is devoted to glacial isostasy. The book is appropriate for graduate courses in glaciology, cryospheric... View Details


Holistic Ice Sheet Modeling: A First-Order Approach (Earth Sciences in the 21st Century: Physics Research and E)
by Terrence J. Hughes (Editor)

Book by View Details


ピアノピースPP1332 Yuri on ICE by 梅林太郎 (ピアノソロ) ~アニメ『ユーリ!!! on ICE』劇中曲 (FAIRY PIANO PIECE)
b

View Details


ピアノソロ Yuri on ICE/梅林太郎 (LPS1231)[オンデマンド楽譜]
b

View Details


Ice Sheets and Climate
by Johannes Oerlemans (Author), C.J. van der Veen (Author)

Climate modelling is a field in rapid development, and the fltudy of cryospheric processes has become an important part of it. On smaller time scales, the effect of snow cover and sea ice on the atmospheric circulation is of concern for long-range weather forecasting. Thinking in decades or centuries, the effect of a C02 climatic warming on the present-day ice sheets, and the resulting changes in global sea level, has drawn a lot of attention. In particular, the dynamics of marine ice sheets (ice sheets on a bed that would be below sea level after removal of ice and full isostatic rebound) is... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Peering Deeper Into Space
The past few years have ushered in an explosion of new discoveries about our universe. This hour, TED speakers explore the implications of these advances — and the lingering mysteries of the cosmos. Guests include theoretical physicist Allan Adams, planetary scientist Sara Seager, and astrophysicists Natasha Hurley-Walker and Jedidah Isler.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#461 Adhesives
This week we're discussing glue from two very different times. We speak with Dr. Jianyu Li about his research into a new type of medical adhesive. And Dr. Geeske Langejans explains her work making and investigating Stone Age and Paleolithic glues.