A new process in the Antarctica is said to be the reason behind the melting of glaciers as well as increasing sea levels. The new process is also said to be a contributing factor to climate change.
IMAS PhD student Alessandro Silvano led a team of scientists and published findings in the journal Science Advances. The team revealed a previously undocumented process where melting glacial ice sheets change the ocean in a way that further accelerates the rate of ice melt and sea level rise. Researchers found that glacial meltwater makes the ocean’s surface layer less salty and more buoyant, preventing deep mixing in winter and allowing warm water at depth to retain its heat and further melt glaciers from below.
According to the team fresh meltwater also reduces the formation and sinking of dense water in some regions around Antarctica, slowing ocean circulation which takes up and stores heat and carbon dioxide. Scientists say that 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.
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