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Rapid Melting Of Antarctic Ice Highlights Growing Impacts Of Global Warming

Global warming has been big news in recent years, as extreme weather events seem to be occurring more frequently and abnormal temperatures continue to be experienced in certain parts of the world. Action has been taken all over the planet in the form of cities and companies doing everything they can to reduce their carbon footprint and preserve the environment for generations to come.

But, sadly, it doesn’t seem to be enough to halt the threat of global warming. Recent studies in Antarctica have highlighted an increase in the amount of water that is melting away from a number of different glaciers on the continent. Glaciers that were once deemed to be relatively stable have started to melt and those that were melting in the past seem to have increased the rate at which they are doing so.

How Bad Is It?

Glacier Calving

Since 2009, scientists have been using two different satellites to monitor the level of melting that is occurring. One of these, CryoSat-2, has been bouncing signals off the glaciers and recording the time it takes for these to bounce back. The other, known as GRACE, is operated by NASA and has been studying the local gravitation field to see if there are any changes. The findings from both satellites seem to corroborate in suggesting that around 60 cubic metres of water has been added to the surrounding oceans each year. That means, over the five years of the study, a mammoth 300 trillion litres of water have melted away from the ice shelf.

Origins Uncertain

NASA Satellite

Despite the results, the scientists conducting the studies have urged that it is too early to tell the cause of this. As yet, it is unknown whether this speeding up of the melting process is caused by man or if nature is to blame. As well as man-made problems, it could be the result of a reduction in snowfall, warmer air, or a natural cycle which we don’t currently know about.

However, it is likely that this dramatic increase has been caused by warmer waters. Not only do these result in the sea-based ice shelves thinning out, they also cut away at those glaciers that are rooted to the bedrock from underneath. Scientists are hoping that, with the collection of more data, they will be able to determine how much longer the melting will occur and what is causing it.

One thing that is for certain is that the Polar Regions are some of the most fragile parts of our beautiful world. It’s a sad fact that we are slowly losing them, but there is still time to see them for yourself. Our range of expedition cruises will take you all over the Arctic and Antarctic to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

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