Antarctica’s Totten Glacier is melting and can cause ocean levels to rise more than 6 feet
When will we ever wake up to the dangers of global warming and its dangerous impact on climate change? Although there are seminars and conferences held around the world on global warming, the biggest contributors to such influences do little to educating local populations in adopting measures to reduce the carbon footprint upon the planet. The dangers of global warming and climate change have taken their toll on the polar ice caps and now threaten the the Totten glacier in Antarctica.
Antarctica’s Totten glacier is melting and threatened by an ice loss which could have a disastrous impact where ocean levels worldwide would be raised by 2 to 3 meters or more 6 feet. It could even destabilize the glacier in the next couple of centuries warns a recent study.
1 Gigantic Chunks of Ice Are Slowly Falling Away From Antarctica
Published in the journal nature, scientists have warned that the glacier is liable to shift 150 km from its present position and retreat almost 250 km inland. In comparison to other dormant glaciers on Antarctica, Totten glacier is relatively active and is being thinned out at a huge rate of half a meter annually. The measurements have been acquired from satellites. The claims of Totten glacier melting has been derived from research upon the rocks beneath the ice stream.
Gigantic Chunks of ice falling off from the polar ice caps is a common sight and if this goes unchecked, the effects on weather conditions and ocean levels could be disastrous. Totten glacier serves as a drain for the world’s largest ice mass the east Antarctica sheet. By this fact alone can one well imagine the catastrophes awaiting earth’s future.
2 The method of studying the ice sheets
The study was conducted by an international team of scientists from Australia, UK, USA and New Zealand. Earlier research observed the fact of warm ocean water flowing beneath the glacier and this could be the main reason for the meltdown.
The team used aerial imagery, gravity and satellite measurements to study glacial movement as well as rock analysis. Rocks lying beneath the Antarctic ice sheets provide a deep insight into the geographical changes of the glacier across history. The obtained data also informs scientists of periodic growth and shrinkage of the ice sheets throughout the various ice ages. Scientists also found that unstable regions caused the Totten glacier melting to recede inland and there will come a period in the future when it may hit the point of no return.
The team lead by Alan Aitkin derived results acquired by magnetic data and gravity which was recorded over a vast area that fed the glacier. Through the measurements and analysis a set future has been mapped out for the Totten Glacier which will be influenced by continuous recordings of climate change.
3 Scientists Feel Earth Is Headed For another Warm Pliocene Period
The scientist observed heavy erosion of underlying sedimentary rocks at the front end of the glacier. It is this area that is prone to erosion and grinding under the heavy pressures of moving ice. But what interested scientists most is the mid region of the glacier. It is the unstability of the mid region that influences glacial retreat inland because the geometry of the rocks in mid region tends to dip inland.
According to professor Martin Siegert of the imperial college of London and Co author of the study “What this all tells us is that once the ice margin starts to go back, it goes back quite rapidly to a newer, stable position way inland “The professor also stated that the modeling fabricated from the research indicates heavily of the loss of ice and subsequent rising of ocean levels by 2 meters.
4 Global Warming Is a Threat to Humanity and the Time to Act Is Now
The last time Totten glacier was melting and retreated inland was in the Pliocene period 3.5 million years ago and that resembles the status of earth as it is now where CO2 levels were in the region of 400 parts to a million. The Pliocene period was relatively warmer than the current state of temperature levels worldwide. The professor remarked that if steps are not taken immediately, earthy is headed for another Pliocene period.
The last talks on climate change held in Paris last year drew a number of committeemens from several countries to initiate voluntary curbs to limit the global temperature rise to below 2 C. But! As long as these remain on paper without educating common folk and industry on the harmful effects of greenhouse gases, how much can governments hope to achieve.