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Second-Largest Antarctic Ice Shelf
Will Shrink Dramatically


May 19, 2016

By the second half of this century, rising air temperatures above the Weddell Sea could set off a self-amplifying meltwater feedback cycle under the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, ultimately causing the second-largest ice shelf in the Antarctic to shrink dramatically. Climate researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) made this prediction in a new study.

The researchers used an ice-ocean model to decode the oceanographic and physical processes that could lead to an irreversible inflow of warm water under the ice shelf, a development that has already been observed in the Amundsen Sea.

When it comes to the Amundsen Sea, where warm water has already reached the continental shelf and even the grounding line of some ice shelves, this inflow of heat cannot be stopped; the climate regime change has already taken place.

In other words, the losses of mass of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will intensify, as the models predict.

SOURCE: American Meteorological Society






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