Antarctica without Ice Shelves Leads to Rapid Multi-Meter Sea Level Rise

Journal of Glaciology, September 14 Collapse of ice shelves neighbouring the Antarctic Ice Sheet has the potential to contribute 1 to 12 meters of sea level rise over the next 500 years, with 1.9 to 5 meters generated within 500 years by the collapse of ice shelves adjoining the West Antarctic Ice Sheet alone. Such […]

WAIS Ice Shelves Show Early Signs of Irreversible Disintegration

PNAS, September 14 Extensive open fractures have developed in the ice shelves of the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, potentially priming them for future collapse. No such crevasses existed at the beginning of satellite records in 1997, with rapidly growing crevasse-damaged areas by 2019, accelerating since 2016.  These damaged […]

Huge Pathways of Warm Water Found Under Major Antarctic Glacier

New maps collected under the floating tongue of Thwaites Glacier and further offshore reveal deep (> 1000 m) and wide (> 20,000 m) channels that guide warm ocean water under the ice, accelerating melt that eventually may lead to collapse. Thwaites, part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is the size of Great Britain, […]

Majority of Antarctic Ice Shelves Sensitive to Meltwater Fracturing

Nature, August 26 Antarctic ice shelves – floating ice in contact with land ice – are both critical to maintaining ice sheet stability, and vulnerable to catastrophic fracturing from meltwater entering crevasses. Hydro-fracturing occurs when surface meltwater flows into and deepens pre-existing fractures, and is a potential mechanism driving sudden ice shelf collapse, as occurred with […]

Ice Sheet Loss from Greenland and Antarctica Track Worst-case IPCC AR5 Projections

Nature Climate Change, August 31   The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have increased global sea level by 12.3 mm from 2007 and 2017, matching the most pessimistic predictions of the IPCC’s most recent assessment report (AR5). In particular, this study indicated that current models underestimate the contribution of ice sheet surface melt.  The comparison […]

Unexpected Basal Ocean Melting in East Antarctica

Nature Communications, August 24 The floating Shirase Ice Tongue (a long and narrow projection of ice, connected an ice basin about the size of the United Kingdom) in Queen Maud Land, East Antarctica, has revealed surprisingly high basal melt rates of 7 to 16 m per year. These rates equal or surpass the melting rate underneath […]

Basal Melting of Antarctic Ice Shelves

Nature Geoscience, August 10 Between 1994 and 2018, Antarctic ice shelves (floating ice connected to the land-based Antarctic ice sheet) lost close to 3960 Gt of ice. Many ice shelves bordering Antarctica lose mass through ocean-driven melting at their base. This study builds on previous work by using higher density satellite radar measurements, enabling far […]

First Active Methane Leak Observed off Antarctica

Proceedings of the Royal Society B, July 22. A team of scientists has discovered the first active leak of methane through the Antarctic seafloor, in the Ross Sea. Researchers monitored microbial communities that can consume the greenhouse gas before it reaches the atmosphere, and therefore play an important role within the methane cycle. Their work reveals […]