January 26, 2022

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Scientists on the “Apocalypse Glacier”

(New York) Scientists are going to inaccessible places on Earth to better understand the impact of Antarctic ice melting on sea level rise.


Seth Borenstein
Associated Press

Thirty-two researchers began a two-month mission aboard an American science ship on Thursday.

The glacier, about the size of Florida, is nicknamed the “Apocalypse Glacier” because of its large amount of ice. If all that ice melts, sea levels will rise by 65 centimeters over the centuries.

Due to its importance, the United Kingdom and the United States have begun exploring the $ 50 million Dwight Glacier, the world’s largest land and sea glacier. The Antarctic Peninsula was once a major concern for researchers.

Photo by Archives Associated Press by British Antarctic Survey

This photo, released by the British Antarctic Survey 2019, shows a hole in the Dwights glacier in Antarctica. The Dwights ice shelf is strewn with hundreds of fractures like damaged glass.

“I would say that Dwights is the main reason for the uncertainty about future sea level rise because he is so far away and hard to reach,” Anna said Wednesday. Wahlin is a marine researcher at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

MMe Nathaniel P., who was scheduled to depart from the port of Chile in the next few hours. Wahlin joined the research ship Palmer. “Its structure makes it unstable, which is what worries us,” he said.

The Dwights send about 50 billion tons of ice into the water each year. Ted Skambose, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado, warns that 4% of global sea level rise is caused by glaciers, which could accelerate further ice loss conditions. Located at McMurdo Ground Station.

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Erin Pettit, an iceberg expert at Oregon State University, made it clear that the Dwights appear to be collapsing in three ways:

Melting by sea water

The land area of ​​the glacier appears to “lose its grip” at the point where it connects to the sea floor. So that a large part may fall into the sea and melt.

Photo by Archives Associated Press by British Antarctic Survey

The Florida-sized Dwight Glacier is nicknamed the “Apocalypse Glacier” because of its enormous amount of ice.

The Dwights ice shelf is strewn with hundreds of fractures like damaged glass. This is what worries us the mostMe Pettit notes that ten kilometers of cracks appeared within a year.

No one had ever set foot on the important iceberg interface of the Dwights before. In 2019, MMe Since Wahlin was on a ship, she explored the area with a robot sent from a ship, but she did not set foot on shore.

This time the team mMe Wahlin will dive down the Dwights using two robotic ships and explore part of the glacier overlooking the ocean.

Scientists will measure the temperature of the water, study the ocean floor and measure the thickness of the ice. They will explore the cracks in the ice and how the ice is structured. They also refer to the seals on the islands beyond the glacier.

Dwights “looks different from other ice shelves,” M said.Me Wahlin.

“It almost looks like a pile of glaciers connected together,” he said. So it is becoming more and more clear that it is not a solid ice like other ice shelves, it is a good uniform ice. It is very fragmented and scarred. ”

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