(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have identified the cause of the melting of the Larsen ice shelves. As it turned out, this happened due to warm water flows, the properties of which were very different from the conditions in this region.
A team of researchers from several European institutions has found evidence that the collapse of the Larsen A and B ice shelves was caused by warm water currents.
In a paper published in the journal Communications Earth and Environment, the group describes how they tracked the movement of flows during the period when the collapse of the ice shelves occurred.
Their work revealed the likely scenarios in Antarctica in the face of ongoing global warming.
Ice shelves form when ice from glaciers enters the seas or oceans, and instead of breaking up, they float on top of the ocean.
Previous research has shown that as global warming progresses, ice shelves have begun to erode. And although such destruction does not contribute to the rise of the ocean level, their loss allows the glaciers that created them to flow unhindered into the sea.
Previous research has also shown that one of the main reasons for the collapse of ice shelves is the flow of warmer water underneath. In the new work, the researchers found that warm rivers are also most likely a contributing factor.
To learn more about the possible impact of atmospheric rivers on the Antarctic region, the researchers used several tools, including a computer algorithm designed specifically to detect water flows, as well as climate models and satellite imagery.
After identifying and tracing the paths of atmospheric rivers, they found that one of them arrived in 1995, shortly before the collapse of Larsen A, and the other in 2002, shortly before the collapse of Larsen B.
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