Steve Rintoul, the lead author of this study, argued that warm waters cause the massive glaciers to melt. He together with his team of researchers was able to test this hypothesis. He claimed that they were aware of the fact that the Totten Glacier was melting faster than other glaciers located in East Antarctica, but they were not able to establish the cause until they took the necessary measurements.
- A source of warm waters from the deep ocean fuels the melting of Totten glacier.
- The continuous process of melting of the massive glacier could cause severe increase in sea levels.
- Scientists want to determine how quickly the sea levels would increase.
The study proved that warm waters reached the cavity through a channel due to temperatures capable of causing the ice shelf to melt until the point it meets the ground. Dr. Rintoul claimed that one of the most significant parts of the study was to predict the future behavior of Totten Glacier because it contains enough sea ice to increase the global sea levels by almost 3.5 meters.
The massive glacier could cause dangerous sea levels rising which could destroy a lot of areas. The goal of the research was to determine some clues which might have predict how the sea level may change in the next years. They have tried to determine what controls the war water which fuels the melting of the massive glacier.
Back on December 8, a team of 30 technicians, researchers and Ph.D. students set off from Hobart and planned to reach the glacier at the end of December. They needed to reveal which were the pathways that led the water coming from the deep ocean to the Totten Glacier. He stated that only by understanding how physical processes cause the ice shelf to heat will enable them to determine the vulnerability of the ice sheet covering East Antarctica to future possible changes that might occur in the Southern Ocean.
Dr. Tas van Ommen from the Australian Antarctic Division argued that it would be a total disaster to notice an increase in the natural melt rate of the Totten Glacier. The team of researchers expressed their concern regarding the massive glacier claiming that this could be considered “the sleeping giant of East Antarctica.”
If the rate of its natural melt were to rise due to ocean circulation, then that would add up to the sea level increase that is already present due to glaciers melting in the West Antarctica.
Image source: flickr