How much you can afford to lose ice in Antarctica?
#Cosmoread: In the past 20 years, Antarctica’s ice shelves that normally support the rest of the continent’s glaciers have been shrinking, and some have completely disappeared. How much more before the Antarctic glaciers disintegrate ice tumbling into the sea can independently start?
A recent study led by researchers at Fried-rich Alecjender- University in Germany, which has been mapped out Antarctic ice shelves buttressing the ice and the more “passive” and thus a large area without any immediate effect could stand to lose the rest of the ice shelf.
Ice several hundred meters thick ice shelves that extend from the edges of the main land and sea to float to the surface of the slab. They firmly According to researchers, glaciers and ice streams in Antarctica mainland, moving slowly toward the sea ice are connected to push. Seaward of these ice shelves will break off the fronts, they form new icebergs and ice loss naturally flowing glacier ice is replenished by mainland.
Some of the ice shelves, however, also push back on glaciers, providing resistance and to reduce the speed at which glaciers flow into the sea, said lead study author Johannes Furst, a research at the Institute of Geography at the Fried-rich Alexander Assistant -University.
“Ice shelves controlling outflow from upstream like a plug in a bathtub,” Furst told Live Science. “You take out the plug; the water runs out, except the frozen waters and if you take out the ice shelves will accelerate its flow out into the ocean and eventually raise sea levels.”
In 1995, the Larsen ice shelf in Antarctica collapsed an area equivalent to the size of Berlin remove the snow cover, Furst accordingly. Seven years later, the enormous Larsen B ice shelf broke apart. Two shelves immediate impact on sea levels was not dissolution, the ice loss of glaciers upstream eight times its normal flow is rapid, according to the researchers.
The satellite images of the ice flow speed by analyzing and measuring the thickness of ice, Fürst team ice shelves buttressing effect is quantified, and “passive ice shelf” that did not provide any support, or shelf ice actively classified areas inland ice was holding back.
Overall, the researchers found that 13 percent of the continent’s ice shelf area could be classified as inactive – an area about twice the size of Spain. The Weddell Sea, the researchers found an almost completely passive Larsen C ice shelf, including ice shelf.
Amundsen and Bellingshausen Sea ice shelves, however, the most susceptible to the ice loss, according to research findings are. They are composed of 7 percent and 5 percent passive ice, respectively, the researchers found.
“We expect that the ice shelf retreat immediately, dynamic changes, which well could lead to outflow from the mainland increased ice production,” Furst said.
In those areas where the ice shelf is already thinning at the highest rate concerns, he explained. And behind them the snow sitting on the ground sloping towards the coast, the researchers say that passive shelf out of the band for any breach of these shelves monitoring is urgently needed.