Another Melting Antarctic Glacier

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The warming of the world’s oceans is penetrating radar. They discovered two
causing a glacier the size of California in massive undersea valleys beneath the
East Antarctica to melt, and scientists fear ice sheet, one of which is 3 miles wide,
its collapse could eventually cause global Those canyons allow warm, salty water
sea levels to rise by as much as 11 feet. Sitting on the ocean floor—the salt makes
The Totten Glacier was long thought to be it heavier than the frigid waters above—to
stable and isolated from the warm-water reach the glacier’s base, causing it to melt
currents that are degrading ice sheets in from below. If the glacier were to van-
West Antarctica. But recent observations ish completely, oceans around the world
have shown that the glacier is thinning would rise by at least 11 feet, on top of the
by a very rapid 33 feet a year.To find out 1- to 3-foot rise the United Nations already
why, an international team of scientists expects by 2100. “While the Totten melt
carried out an extensive aerial survey of may take several centuries,” study author
the glacier using planes fitted with ice- Jamin Greenbaum tells, “once
Warm waters are shrinking Antarctica’s ice. change has begun, our analysis reveals it
would likely be irreversible.”