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Scientists from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom have discovered another reason why glaciers in Antarctica are melting. The results of the scientists' work were published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
The researchers concluded that ice shelves located next to each other contribute to the instability of other glaciers downstream. This is reported by the Jerusalem Post.
Scientists have found that the ocean gyre, a system of circulating currents adjacent to the Thwaites Ice Shelf, can influence the amount of meltwater flowing under the shelf. When the gyre weakens, more and more warm water can reach the area below the ice shelf, causing it to melt.
“We have identified another process that can affect the stability of ice shelves, revealing the importance of local ocean circulation and sea ice. A warm variety of Antarctic waters plays a key role in the melting of the base of ice shelves. However, in this study, we show that a large amount of heat in shallow layers under one ice shelf can be provided by waters originating from other melting ice shelves nearby. Therefore, what happens with one ice shelf, can affect the neighboring ice shelf and so on,” the scientists said.
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