Contrary to the scientists initial thoughts, more of the Totten Glacier has been found floating in Antarctica. The discovery astounded researchers because it is an indication that the glaciers are melting and it can accelerate the rise of sea level all over the world.
On March 20, scientists revealed that they saw giant glaciers floating on the ocean and this means that the ice shelf is melting away at an unimaginable fast rate. Global warming certainly contributed to the thawing of the Arctic and it can leave big parts of the world submerged in water as sea levels climb up dramatically, Yahoo News reported.
The researchers were able to closely observe the Totten Glacier by using seismic waves that they artificially produced. The technique allowed them to see through the thick ice and reach the usually hidden parts of the Totten.
“A hammer-generated seismic wave was used to ‘see’ through a couple of kilometers of ice,” said Paul Winberry, a professor from Central Washington University and one of the researchers who spent the summer in Antarctica to study the said glacier.
After a long stay in the area, the researchers discovered that more Totten Glacier is floating around. The finding shocked them because what they know all along was that, only a few are afloat and most are supposedly stuck at the bottom.
The discovery is not good because having lots of floating glaciers means that more ice are bound to melt in Antarctica. Certainly, huge amounts of melted glaciers have a disastrous global effect.
On the press release posted by Australia’s Department of Energy and Environment, Dr. Ben Galton-Fenzi, a glaciologist and lead researcher, said that Totten Glacier is one of Antarctica’s biggest and fastest flowing glaciers. He confirmed that it was only recently when they found out that more of the ice chunks are floating rather than grounded on arctic bedrock.
He further relayed that the increased number of floating glaciers pose a big threat to the world. Once melted, the professor warned that the glaciers can raise the sea levels by at least three meters.
At any rate, the team of researchers was composed of scientists from the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Australian Antarctic Division and Central Washington University. Led by Dr. Galton-Fenzi, the group has been closely monitoring how the Totten Glacier melts.
With their findings, they are hoping to get an accurate estimate of how much water that the thawed ice can possibly add to the ocean, plus a time-frame when the melting would likely occur.
Finally, as part of the Australian Antarctic Program, the team spent the entire summer in the Earth’s southernmost continent for their research.