In Antarctica, a massive crater which was once thought to be caused by a meteorite was revealed to be the outcome of ice melt. New research has once again brought climate change at the top of all concerns regarding ice melting. In East Antarctica, there is a giant crater in the Roi Baudouin ice layer. It represents a collapsed lake which has an unusual drainage passage through the layer of ice called moulin.
- Climate change fuels heavy snowfall in East Antarctica.
- The crater in the Roi Baudouin ice shelf was first discovered back in 1989.
- A team of researchers have published a new study about the crater on December 12.
A collapsed lake is a compartment formed due to the draining of a lake of meltwater. Researchers have analyzed the ice shelf from Roi Baudouin back in January 2016 during a field trip, gathering more data about that area. Stef Lhermitte, who is an earth science researcher at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and the University of Leuven in Belgium, has argued that they were extremely surprised to reveal that moulin which usually occurs only in Greenland.
He together with his team of researchers has developed an extensive study based on the data they collected during the field trip and the information received through satellite. They have discovered that climate change started affecting East Antarctica which has now become extremely vulnerable to ice melting than scientists have previously thought.
Global warming determined the formation of warm winds which can blow away the layer of snow. The team of researchers has shared this data on December 12, publishing their discoveries in the Nature Climate Change magazine. If the snow cover is carried away by the wind, the surface of the ice darkens, thus absorbing more heat compared to lighter surfaces. The outcome is a more accelerated melting process due to the heat attracted by the dark surface of the ice.
The thick floating layers of ice do not fuel the rise of sea levels, but they represent a significant backstop when it comes to the land-based ice which flows from the continental Antarctica into the ocean. Based on research developed back in 2015, Antarctica revealed different behaviors regarding climate change. East Antarctica accumulated ice due to heavy snowfalls. Global warming generates larger amounts of snow because it can cause the air to be more moisture.
The mystery of the massive crater from Roi Baudouin still raises questions. The first documented proof of the crater’s existence appeared back in 1989, but extensive research was developed in January 2015.
Image courtesy of: wikipedia