Warm ocean water gateways add to Antarctic glacier melt

By on March 27, 2015

A seafloor gateway may allow warm ocean water to flow underneath glaciers. (Credit: Jamin Greenbaum)


Scientists at the University of Texas have found seafloor gateways that may be allowing warm ocean water to flow underneath a prominent Antarctic glacier, according to a release from the school. The discovery adds a new contributor to ice melt on the continent.

The gateways appear to flow beneath the Totten Glacier, one of Antarctica’s most rapidly thinning glaciers. The amount of ice it holds, scientists say, could raise the global sea level by 11 feet if melted.

“Now we know the ocean is melting ice in an area of the glacier that we thought was totally cut off before,” said Jamin Greenbaum, a doctoral candidate at the university’s Institute for Geophysics, in a statement. “Knowing this will improve predictions of ice melt and the timing of future glacier retreat.”

Top image: A seafloor gateway may allow warm ocean water to flow underneath glaciers. (Credit: Jamin Greenbaum)

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