Thanks to a new method of work developed by researchers from Rutgers University and the University of Oregon, scientists have succeeded in accurately calculating the melting of underwater ice. The results show that this dissolution is occurring faster than previously calculated.
In the work, published in Science, the so-called tide glaciers were taken into particular consideration, or glaciers that flow from the valley to the ocean giving rise, among other things, to numerous small icebergs.
These glaciers are retreating and are contributing to sea-level rise globally, according to Rebecca Jackson, a Rutgers oceanographer who says that the trigger is the fusion of sea ice.
This is one of the first studies that directly measures the rate of underwater melting of glaciers around the world, something that had previously been calculated only through theoretical modeling or through non-direct measurements. The results of this study, among other things, show how much ocean and glaciers are strongly connected, much more than previously thought.
For this study, they analyzed the LeConte glacier, a tidal glacier in Alaska, from 2016 to 2018.
“We found that fusion rates are significantly higher than expected across the entire surface area of the glacier – in some places 100 times higher than the theory can predict,” reports Jackson. “We also discover, as expected, but never shown, that fusion rates are higher in summer than in spring, and that changes in fusion rates through the terminus cause overvoltage and undercutting.”
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