Antarctica loses grip
03 April 2018
ESA's CryoSat mission has revealed that, over the last seven years, Antarctica has lost an area of underwater ice the size of Greater London. This is because warm ocean water beneath the continent's floating margins is eating away at the ice attached to the seabed.
Most Antarctic glaciers flow straight into the ocean in deep submarine troughs. The place where their base leaves the seabed and begins to float is known as the grounding line.
These grounding lines typically lie a kilometre or more below sea level and are inaccessible even to submersibles, so remote methods for detecting them are extremely valuable.
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When we think of climate change, one of the first things to come to mind is melting polar ice. However, ice loss isn't just restricted to the polar regions. According to research published today, glaciers around the world have lost well over 9000 gigatonnes (nine trillion tonnes) of ice since 1961.