PASADENA, Calif. — Ocean waters melting the undersides of Antarctic ice shelves are responsible for most of the continent’s ice shelf mass loss, a new study by NASA and university researchers has found.
Scientists have studied the rates of basal melt, or the melting of the ice shelves from underneath, of individual ice shelves, the floating extensions of glaciers that empty into the sea. But this is the first comprehensive survey of all Antarctic ice shelves. The study found basal melt accounted for 55 percent of all Antarctic ice shelf mass loss from 2003 to 2008, an amount much higher than previously thought. (more…)