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News Picks : Antarctic glacier melt is accelerating

By: Physics Today
Wed Jan 15 12:00:00 UTC 2014
BBC: Antarctica’s colossal Pine Island Glacier (PIG) has been thinning at an accelerating rate over the past 40 years, according to a recent study published in Nature Climate Change. Several teams of researchers, who have been monitoring the area via aircraft and satellites, found that the melting is not being caused by higher air temperatures but rather by warm ocean water eroding the ice shelf from below. Moreover, with the use of computer modeling, they have determined that the melting appears to be irreversible even if temperatures were to grow colder. Because of the volume of water that PIG is sending into the Amundsen Sea, the area of the Southern Ocean off western Antarctica, it is becoming a significant contributor to global sea-level rise.

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