Scientists have found traces of the mass melting of glaciers on the surface of Antarctica

© Julien Nicolas/OSUКарта glaciers of West Antarctica, melting last summerScientists have found traces of the mass melting of glaciers on the surface of Antarctica© Julien Nicolas/OSU

. Huge areas of glaciers in the Antarctic, comparable in size to France, melting not only the bottom but also on the surface in the midst of last year’s summer, the researchers found, published an article in the journal Nature Communications.

«Traces of this melting remains invisible to satellites, since the snow on the surface of the ice absorbs this water and plays a buffer role, impeding the formation of melt lakes and streams of water, which can be found in some Antarctic glaciers. On the other hand, we cannot exclude the fact that «open» water still there might appear,» says Nicolas Julien (Julien Nicolas) Ohio state University (USA).

Every year the ice shield of Antarctica is losing up to 2.8 thousand cubic kilometers of ice, and in the last decade, the ice cover is shrinking faster and faster. For a long time it was believed that this is due to the accelerated formation of icebergs, but the American climatologists in June 2013 found that slightly more than half of the volume of the «disappeared» of ice was melted by warm currents that wash the underwater part of the ice sheet of Antarctica through original channels-«the river» at the foot of the glaciers.

Nicholas and his colleagues found that melting Antarctic ice is not less fast and on the surface, observing the state of the glaciers in the West Antarctica, the most vulnerable part of its ice cover in December 2015 – January 2016, in the midst of the years in the southern hemisphere.

These observations tell scientists how they were not using satellites, and special mobile weather stations established across the Ross ice shelf. Initially, according to Nicholas, his team studied is not how the glaciers are melting, and watched as the clouds affect the amount of heat reaching the surface of Antarctica.

The reason for this mass melting of the glaciers, as scientists assume, was the strengthening El niño, a climate phenomenon in the tropical Pacific ocean associated with the motion of the currents. The intensification of the El Nino leads to increased temperature in temperate and polar latitudes through increased transfer of warm air from the Equatorial regions of the planet in the polar region, and unusually intense in 2015 and 2016 is now regarded as one of the main causes of the heat wave in Russia and in other countries.

As noted by Nicholas, the extent of melting associated with the El niño phenomenon, in fact, was quite modest – its work is prevented by an unusually strong West wind, ohlajdauche the Ross ice shelf and other regions of Western Antarctica. In the future, «strong» El niño will occur more and more often, and most of these episodes will coincide with the strengthening of westerlies that will speed up the melting of glaciers on the surface.

If these glaciers in the near future will completely collapse, sea level, scientists believe, can grow to about three meters and reach the values typical of the last interglacial period, which ended 125 years ago.

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