Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Changing Antarctic waters could trigger steep rise in sea levels
by Staff Writers
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Oct 03, 2014

The accelerating melting of land ice into the sea makes the surface of the ocean around Antarctica colder, less salty and more easily frozen, leading to extensive sea ice in some areas. It is one of the reasons ascribed to the increasing trend in sea ice around Antarctica.

Current changes in the ocean around Antarctica are disturbingly close to conditions 14,000 years ago that new research shows may have led to the rapid melting of Antarctic ice and an abrupt 3-4 metre rise in global sea level.

The research published in Nature Communications found that in the past, when ocean temperatures around Antarctica became more layered - with a warm layer of water below a cold surface layer - ice sheets and glaciers melted much faster than when the cool and warm layers mixed more easily.

This defined layering of temperatures is exactly what is happening now around the Antarctic.

"The reason for the layering is that global warming in parts of Antarctica is causing land-based ice to melt, adding massive amounts of freshwater to the ocean surface," said ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science researcher Prof Matthew England an author of the paper.

"At the same time as the surface is cooling, the deeper ocean is warming, which has already accelerated the decline of glaciers on Pine Island and Totten. It appears global warming is replicating conditions that, in the past, triggered significant shifts in the stability of the Antarctic ice sheet."

The modelling shows the last time this occurred, 14,000 years ago, the Antarctic alone contributed 3-4 metres to global sea levels in just a few centuries.

"Our model simulations provide a new mechanism that reconciles geological evidence of past global sea level rise," said researcher UNSW ARC Future Fellow Dr Chris Fogwill.

"The results demonstrate that while Antarctic ice sheets are remote, they may play a far bigger role in driving past and importantly future sea level rise than we previously suspected."

The accelerating melting of land ice into the sea makes the surface of the ocean around Antarctica colder, less salty and more easily frozen, leading to extensive sea ice in some areas. It is one of the reasons ascribed to the increasing trend in sea ice around Antarctica.

To get their results the researchers used sophisticated ice sheet and climate models and verified their results with independent geological observations from the oceans off Antarctica. The geological data clearly showed that when the waters around the Antarctic became more stratified, the ice sheets melted much more quickly.

"The big question is whether the ice sheet will react to these changing ocean conditions as rapidly as it did 14,000 years ago," said lead author Dr Nick Golledge, a senior research fellow at Victoria's Antarctic Research Centre.

"With 10 per cent of the world's population, or 700 million people, living less than 10 metres above present sea level, an additional three metres of sea level rise from the Antarctic alone will have a profound impact on us all."


Related Links
Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science
Beyond the Ice Age

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Antifreeze proteins in Antarctic fishes prevent freezing...and melting
Champaign IL (SPX) Sep 23, 2014
Antarctic fishes that manufacture their own "antifreeze" proteins to survive in the icy Southern Ocean also suffer an unfortunate side effect, researchers report: The protein-bound ice crystals that accumulate inside their bodies resist melting even when temperatures warm. The finding is reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "We discovered what appears to b ... read more

Turning the Moon into a cosmic ray detector

Russia to Launch Full-Scale Moon Exploration Next Decade

Lunar explorers will walk at higher speeds than thought

Year's final supermoon is a Harvest Moon

India's Mars Orbiter Cost Only 11 Percent of NASA's Maven Probe: Reports

India's spacecraft beams back first Mars photos

NASA Rover Drill Pulls First Taste From Mars Mountain

Back to Driving

Crew selected for eight-month Mars simulation

Orion Recovery Tests Help Teams Prepare for December Flight

NASA technologies to be studied for commercialization

NASA Seeks Best and Brightest for Space Technology Fellowships

China's first space lab in operation for over 1000 days

China Exclusive: Mars: China's next goal?

Astronauts eye China's future space station

China eyes working with other nations as station plans develop

NASA Expands Commercial Space Program

Yelena Serova becomes first Russian woman aboard space station

Crew including first woman cosmonaut in 17 years blasts off for ISS

A Giant Among Earth Satellites

Arianespace's lightweight Vega launcher is readied for its mission with the European IXV spaceplane

Soyuz Rocket Awaiting Launch at Baikonur Cosmodrome

Elon Musk, Rick Perry attend groundbreaking for Texas spaceport

France raises heat on decision for next Ariane rocket

New milestone in the search for water on distant planets

Clear skies on exo-Neptune

Distant planet's atmosphere shows evidence of water vapor

Chandra Finds Planet That Makes Star Act Deceptively Old

3D printer makes bionic hand for 5-year-old girl

Fed Up With Federal Inaction, States Act Alone on Cap-and-Trade

Microsoft to tap $2-trillion Indian cloud market

How to make stronger, 'greener' cement

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.