Warm Ocean Currents Cause Majority of Ice Loss from Antarctica

Nasa’s Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) revealed that warm ocean currents are attacking the ice shelves causing Antarctica to loose ice. Scientists had to differentiate between the two causes of melting ice shelves- the warm ocean currents and the warm air. This will allow them to produce accurate projections of sea level rise. 20 of the 54 ice shelves that they studied were being melted by the warm ocean currents. From October 2003 to October 2008, scientists mapped out the changing thickness of these ice shelves. This is an accurate measurement because it uses laser altimetry, which is more accurate than the standard satellite radar data. Now in 2012, they are building a ICESat-2 which is scheduled to launch in 2016. The rapid melting of the ice is affected by the wind currents and the changes in the wind patterns. NASA is continuing to study the results and find a way to improve the rapid melting of ice. However, with the increase in wind currents, it makes their job difficult.

Lizzie Eversole

Topic 4: Ocean Currents


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