2017-03-31. What Regions Are Most at Risk for Ice Loss in East Antarctica?

posted Apr 8, 2017, 7:52 AM by Alan Gould

By Sarah Witman, Earth & Space News, AGU. For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpt: ...Antarctica is... covered almost entirely by a vast sheet of ice, stretching from the towering plateau of East Antarctica to the chain of mountainous islands (interconnected by ice) that form West Antarctica. This ice sheet comprises about 90% of the ice on Earth.... If Earth’s oceans and atmosphere continue to warm at the rates projected by most climate models, over the next few hundred years, the Antarctic ice sheets could melt enough to cause a sea level rise of several meters. Most likely, the severity of ice loss will vary geographically because of physical differences across the continent, such as ice thickness and bedrock topography. Previous simulations have shown that most of the ice melt will occur in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, yet less is known about how the East Antarctic Ice Sheet would respond to environmental warming. The eastern side of the ice sheet is much larger and has slow-flowing glaciers, and its bedrock is a rocky terrain of deep basins and high mountain ranges buried beneath the ice. Recent studies have already shown warm ocean water flowing southward from areas of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, suggesting that the region could be affected by further warming....  https://eos.org/research-spotlights/what-regions-are-most-at-risk-for-ice-loss-in-east-antarctica