Horror of climate change may be coming true: Study
New Delhi : A new Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS)-led study has revealed an undocumented process that deals with the melting process of ice resulting in further acceleration of the rate of ice melt and sea level rise.
The study that has been published in the journal Science Advances. According to the research, glacial meltwater makes ocean's surface layer less salty and more buoyant, resulting in keeping the warm water prevail in the bottom and increase further melting of ice even during winters.
“This process is similar to what happens when you put oil and water in a container, with the oil floating on top because it’s lighter and less dense,” Silvano said.
“The same happens near Antarctica with fresh glacial meltwater, which stays above the warmer and saltier ocean water, insulating the warm water from the cold Antarctic atmosphere and allowing it to cause further glacial melting.
“We found that in this way increased glacial meltwater can cause a positive feedback, driving further melt of ice shelves and hence an increase in sea level rise.”
According to the study, fresh melted water also reduces the sinking of dense water, resulting in storing of heat and carbondioxide.
“The cold glacial meltwaters flowing from the Antarctic cause a slowing of the currents which enable the ocean to draw down carbon dioxide and heat from the atmosphere. “In combination, the two processes we identified feed off each other to further accelerate climate change.”
The study involved scientists from IMAS, ACE CRC, CSIRO, the Centre for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research and the Antarctic Gateway Partnership, with support from IMOS and the Australian Antarctic Program, as well as Japanese scientists from the Hokkaido University and the National Institute of Polar Research.