One scientist is using AI and drone footage to understand how these organisms are linked to the melting of the glaciers. But Chad Greene, a University of Texas, Austin, glacier expert who led the recent Totten study, notes that climate change is also thought to have an influence on Antarctic wind patterns. "The retreat of the glaciers and melting of the ice fields has already progressed so far," he said. The rate of loss has been increasing since 1992 and it’s losing more and more mass all the time.” A new study shows they are losing 369 billion tons of snow and … In an interview with E&E News about the research last week, lead study author Hannes Konrad of the University of Leeds noted that the process likely has less to do with the gradual climate-driven warming of the ocean than with specific physical processes that drive naturally occurring warm water to the ice front. Recent research suggests that winds around Antarctica help drive bottom melting at Totten Glacier in East Antarctica, as well, a massive glacier sometimes referred to as Antarctica’s “sleeping giant.”. "I don't think we'll find another Oetzi." Research shows the polar vortex is appearing outside of the Arctic more frequently because of changes to the jet stream, caused by a combination of warming air and ocean temperatures in the Arctic and the tropics. When glaciers melt, because that water is stored on land, the runoff significantly increases the amount of water in the ocean, contributing to global sea level rise. Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. Winds do naturally fluctuate from one year to the next to a certain extent. Rapid glacial melt in Antarctica and Greenland also influences ocean currents, as massive amounts of very cold glacial-melt water entering warmer ocean waters is slowing ocean currents. The earth's glaciers are melting much faster than scientists thought. Because the Arctic is warming faster than other parts of the world, some research suggests that certain polar wind patterns are also changing. As grounded glaciers melt, sea levels around the world rise. Using computer models to analyze the data, Echelmeyer found that Alaska’s melting glaciers, sea ice, and a type of frozen soil called permafrost are adding an extra 0.3 millimeter a year to the depth of oceans. An ambitious mapping project demonstrates that glaciers all around the Antarctic coastline, and particularly in West Antarctica, are retreating inland (Climatewire, April 4). The study only shows the extent of the ice losses and doesn’t delve into the exact mechanisms driving it. The strong link to El Niño suggests that ocean temperatures in the Pacific may generally be a significant driver of winds and melt rates around this part of the ice sheet. Environment Italy's melting glaciers face new threat: Pink ice. Today, about 10% of land area on Earth is covered with glacial ice. It’s a growing problem in Greenland, scientists say, and it may already be the dominant driver of melting glaciers in Antarctica. Glaciers everywhere might be melting, but only one has earned the most terrifying nickname: the Doomsday Glacier. Alarmingly, if all the ice on Greenland melted, it would raise global sea levels by 20 feet. Certain glaciers and ice sheets are particularly vulnerable. On land, lakes formed on top of a glacier during the melt season may cause floods. WASHINGTON (AP) — Earth's glaciers are melting much faster than scientists thought. The Robertson glacier runs down the divide between Mount Sir Douglas and Mount Robertson on the Alberta-B.C. In both places, the influence of warm water remains a convoluted research area, far more complicated than can be explained away by the overall warming of the oceans alone. But “in other places, like Greenland, it brings tropical waters and warm air masses farther north than it used to,” Rignot noted. But by highlighting the amount of damage that’s actually occurring—the maps suggest that Antarctica is losing about 80 square miles of grounded ice area each year—it once again raises the question of what’s driving all that warm water. Ice acts like a protective cover over the Earth and our oceans. Industries that thrive on vibrant fisheries will be affected as warmer waters change where and when fish spawn. And when it comes to reducing emissions, you can make a few simple changes to your daily routine to lower your carbon footprint. Italy's melting glaciers face new threat: Pink ice. Officially called the Thwaites Glacier, this mass of ice nestled into the western edge of Antarctica is melting at an alarming rate. World Wildlife Fund Inc. is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization (tax ID number 52-1693387) under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The true picture of how the ice in those glaciers … It is melting at a rate that is contributing to a global sea-level rise of almost one millimeter per year. What happens in these places has consequences across the entire globe. Thousands of glaciers dot the planet’s high mountain regions. The effect of climate change on the world’s ice is almost that simple. Melting glaciers contribute a third of sea-level rise. Antarctica's colossal Thwaites Glacier is melting fast -- and scientists may have discovered why. As the ice melts, the point where it attaches to the bedrock at the bottom of the ocean (commonly known as the “grounding line”) recedes inland, which can cause the glaciers to become less stable and lose more ice over time. Melting glaciers have many effects. See how warming in far-away places like Antarctica matters to people on coasts world-wide. So while there's still lots of snow and ice in the polar regions, there’s much less of it than there used to be. The melting rate of submerged sections of glaciers could be up to a hundred times faster than researchers previously thought, according to a new study. The glacier acts as a buffer between the warming sea and other glaciers. Glacier - Glacier - Heat or energy balance: The mass balance and the temperature variations of a glacier are determined in part by the heat energy received from or lost to the external environment—an exchange that takes place almost entirely at the upper surface. Check out the effects of … Glaciers around the world can range from ice that is several hundred to several thousand years old and provide a scientific record of how climate has changed over time. In Antarctica especially, ocean-driven melting is thought to be the dominant driver of ice loss. Now, scientists are working to figure out exactly why that’s happening, whether climate change is playing a role, and what might be in store for the future of the world’s biggest ice sheets. The melting of glaciers depends on a variety of factors, the most important of which is the amount of solar radiation hitting the ice. If temperatures keep rising, glaciers will continue melting, and some could disappear completely. Even if we significantly curb emissions in the coming decades, more than a third of the world’s remaining glaciers will melt before the year 2100. As glaciers and the giant ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica melt, they add more water into the ocean, which causes sea level to rise. First, reach out to your local elected officials to find out if your city has a disaster response plan for right now. Specifically, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are the largest contributors of global sea level rise. If emissions continue to rise, the current rate of melting on the Greenland ice sheet is expected to double by the end of the century. Turn up the heat, and ice will melt. Now a team of international scientists is grappling with a problem facing the Tarim River basin and other mountainous regions — how to secure water supplies as demands increase and glaciers melt. By Emma Reynolds, CNN. So are the massive, centuries-old ice sheets of Greenland and the polar regions. Increasingly, scientists believe that the winds around Antarctica are a big part of the answer. Teachers can repeat this demonstration with inexpensive materials. Europe’s record heat melted Swiss glaciers. Bona and Mt. The World’s Glaciers Continue To Melt As Massive Chunk Of Arctic Ice Cap Breaks Off Scott Snowden Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Melting ice from the island is a leading contributor to sea-level rise worldwide: The ice that melts or … Scientists already generally agree that glacier retreat in Antarctica is largely being driven by warm water seeping underneath the ice—the process has been demonstrated by multiple studies in the last few years. Longer term, though, the problem is less water, as even fast-melting glaciers are too small to keep rivers flowing during dry seasons. Antarctica's colossal Thwaites Glacier is melting fast -- and scientists may have discovered why By Emma Reynolds, CNN Updated 12:19 PM ET, Wed September 9, 2020 The melting of glaciers in the Himalayas has doubled over the last two decades because of global warming, a study has warned.. Glaciers occupy over a tenth of this famously frigid island near the Arctic Circle. shrinking of mountain glaciers and large ice sheets with consequent sea-level rise and impacts on water resources; and declining coverage of sea ice and snow, which will affect marine and ground transportation across the Arctic. In theory, the Arctic remains colder than the equator because more of the heat from the sun is reflected off the ice, back into space. These winds can help drive the flow of naturally occurring warm water around the continent and, in the right conditions, push it closer to the ice sheet. Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at, Ice Drownings Expected to Rise as Winters Warm, As the Oceans Warm, Hurricanes Stay Stronger Longer, How Biden Might Reverse Trump's Attacks on Climate Research, Major Companies Call on Biden to Act on Climate Change, 2020 Is a Record Year for Disaster Shelters, Red Cross Says, Flood Risks to Low-Income Homes to Triple by 2050. As a result, he said, some research predicts that eastward flowing wind currents may strengthen and push south toward Antarctica, resulting in “more transport of subsurface ocean heat toward the continent.”. Since the early 1900s, many glaciers around the world have been rapidly melting. Today, the main reason glaciers have begun to melt is because of human activity. Rather, complex systems involving winds and ocean circulation patterns are helping to drive naturally occurring warm water closer to the ice edge. Every single one is melting . … According to Eric Rignot, a glacier expert at the University of California, Irvine, a major factor in this process is that the tropics are warming at a faster rate than the South Pole. Dust, climate change and air pollution are triple threat to water source for a billion people . Other studies in the last few years have come to similar conclusions about El Niño-related increases in Antarctic melt rates. Where glaciers are melting into the ocean, they contribute to sea-level rise. People are not the only ones impacted. A new study shows they are losing 369 billion tons of snow and ice each year, more than half of that in North America. Today, the Arctic is warming twice as fast as anywhere on earth, and the sea ice there is declining by more than 10% every 10 years. “What is far more important is whether the already-warm water gets to the glacier front, under the floating ice shelves.”. It’s this circumpolar deep water that’s believed to be driving glacier melt around the continent. Strong action on climate change means preparing communities for impacts that are happening now. When they melt, glaciers can also create natural dams, which can then burst and send floods down the valley. Scientists agree it’s not just the warming of the oceans, overall, that’s driving the process. I do not deny the seriousness of glacier melt, nor its exacerbation by anthropogenic forces and the unassailable reality that people across the world are losing their ice — there are and will be many grave impacts as a result of this unprecedented loss. border. The story repeats a lot, which is a good learning tool for kids, but the animals didn’t tell a story of why the glaciers are melting or explore the reason why the glaciers are melting so the story was not very interesting. “But the question is, why does this warm ocean water from time to time reach under the ice shelf?”. And scientists are still working to determine the extent to which human-caused climate change has already affected those processes and how they could change in the future. Alarming Sonar Results Show Glaciers May Be Melting Faster Than We Expected. A 2014 paper in Science, on the other hand, found that a strong La Niña event in 2012 may have had the opposite effect, allowing cooler waters greater access to the ice sheet and helping to reduce melt rates. Between 1961 and 2016, non-polar mountain glaciers lost more than 9000 billion tonnes of ice and their melt lifted the oceans by 27mm. Earth’s glaciers are melting much faster than scientists thought. A new study shows they are losing 369 billion tons of snow and ice each year, more than half of that in North America. Discover world-changing science. As glaciers melt they "calve" chunks of ice into the sea A plume of cold, fresh meltwater had been expected to protect the front of the glacier from the warmer seawater.