Strong storms also play big role in Antarctic ice shelf collapse

phys.org | 7/18/2019 | Staff
morica (Posted by) Level 3
Click For Photo: https://3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn.net/newman/gfx/news/2019/strongstorms.jpg

Warming temperatures and changes in ocean circulation and salinity are driving the breakup of ice sheets in Antarctica, but a new study suggests that intense storms may help push the system over the edge.

A research team led by U.S. and Korean scientists deployed three moorings with hydrophones attached seaward of the Nansen Ice Shelf in Antarctica's Ross Sea in December of 2015, and were able to record hundreds of short-duration, broadband signals indicating the fracturing of the ice shelf.

Icequakes - Place - January - March - Front

The "icequakes" primarily took place between January and March of 2016, with the front of the ice sheet calving into two giant icebergs on April 7. The day the icebergs drifted away from the shelf coincided with the largest low-pressure storm system the region had recorded in the previous seven months, the researchers say.

Results of the study are being published this week in Frontiers in Earth Science.

Icebergs - Ice - Sheet - Combination - Winds

"It appears that while the icebergs had broken free of the main ice sheet, they stayed attached until the combination of high winds and a strong low-pressure storm combined to break them loose," noted Bob Dziak, a research oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and lead author on the study.

"The processes behind the unpinning and breakup of Antarctic ice shelves is not fully understood, and our study suggests that storms play an under-appreciated role...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
Wake Up To Breaking News!
Sign In or Register to comment.

Welcome to Long Room!

Where The World Finds Its News!