Science & Technology

Climactic Risk of Global Sea Level Rise as Antarctica’s Denman Glacier Has Retreated Almost 3 Miles

Researchers from UCI and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are involved that the distinctive topography beneath East Antarctica’s Denman Glacier might make it much more inclined to climate-driven collapse. Credit score: NASA

UCI, (*3*)NASA scientists assess ice sheet with potential to lift international sea ranges almost 5 toes.

East Antarctica’s Denman Glacier has retreated 5 kilometers, almost 3 miles, previously 22 years, and researchers on the College of California, Irvine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are involved that the form of the bottom floor beneath the ice sheet might make it much more inclined to climate-driven collapse.

If absolutely thawed, the ice in Denman would trigger sea ranges worldwide to rise about 1.5 meters, virtually 5 toes. With this sobering truth in thoughts, the UCI and NASA JPL scientists have accomplished essentially the most thorough examination but of the glacier and surrounding space, uncovering alarming clues about its situation underneath additional international warming.

The group’s evaluation is the topic of a paper printed right now within the American Geophysical Union journal Geophysical Analysis Letters.

“East Antarctica has lengthy been regarded as much less threatened, however as glaciers such as Denman have come underneath nearer scrutiny by the cryosphere science group, we are actually starting to see proof of potential marine ice sheet instability on this area,” stated co-author Eric Rignot, chair, Donald Bren Professor and Chancellor’s Professor of Earth system science at UCI.

“The ice in West Antarctica has been melting sooner lately, however the sheer measurement of Denman Glacier implies that its potential impression on long-term sea degree rise is simply as vital,” he added.

In accordance with the research, Denman Glacier skilled a cumulative mass loss of 268 billion tons of ice between 1979 and 2017.

Utilizing radar interferometer knowledge from the Italian House Company’s COSMO-SkyMed satellite tv for pc system, the researchers extra exactly decided Denman’s grounding line, the purpose at which the ice leaves the land and begins to drift within the ocean.

“Differential artificial aperture radar interferometer knowledge from 1996 to 2018 confirmed us a marked asymmetry within the grounding line retreat on the ice sheet’s land-sea interface,” stated lead writer Virginia Brancato, a postdoctoral fellow with NASA JPL who was a postdoctoral scholar at UCI when the research was performed.

Denman’s japanese flank is protected against retreat by a subglacial ridge. However Brancato stated that the western flank, which extends roughly 4 kilometers, is characterised by a deep and steep trough with a mattress slope conducive to accelerated retreat.

“As a result of of the form of the bottom beneath Denman’s western aspect, there’s potential for speedy and irreversible retreat, and meaning substantial will increase in international sea ranges sooner or later,” she stated.

In December, Nature Geoscience printed a paper on the BedMachine Antarctica challenge led by Mathieu Morlighem, UCI affiliate professor of Earth system science, which revealed that the trough beneath Denman Glacier extends 3,500 meters under sea degree, making it the deepest land canyon on Earth.

The UCI and NASA JPL scientists report within the Geophysical Analysis Letters paper that the mattress configuration of Denman is exclusive in Antarctica’s japanese sector. Different main glaciers, such as Totten and Moscow College, characteristic prograde beds that slope down within the movement path, offering some measure of stability, Rignot stated.

Monitoring the state of the floating extension of Denman Glacier, a 24,000-square-kilometer mass that features the Shackleton Ice Shelf and Denman ice tongue, will likely be particularly vital, he added. The researchers used the German Aerospace Heart’s TanDEM-X satellite tv for pc together with knowledge from COSMO-SkyMed to evaluate the soften fee of the floating sea ice, studying that the Denman ice tongue has shed mass at a fee of about 3 meters per yr, above common in comparison with different East Antarctic ice cabinets.

“We have to accumulate oceanographic knowledge close to Denman and control its grounding line,” Rignot stated. “The Italian COSMO-SkyMed satellite tv for pc system is the one instrument for us to observe grounding line situations on this sector of Antarctica, and we’re lucky to have on our group Dr. Brancato, who’s expert in extrapolating the info to provide us the exact and up-to-date data we require.”

For extra on this analysis, see .


“Grounding line retreat of Denman Glacier, East Antarctica, measured with COSMO‐SkyMed radar interferometry knowledge” by V. Brancato, E. Rignot, P. Milillo, M. Morlighem, J. Mouginot, L. An, B. Scheuchl, S. Jeong, P. Rizzoli, J.L. Bueso Bello and P. Prats‐Iraolaal, 23 March 2020, Geophysical Analysis Letters.

“Deep glacial troughs and stabilizing ridges unveiled beneath the margins of the Antarctic ice sheet” by Mathieu Morlighem, Eric Rignot, Tobias Binder, Donald Blankenship, Reinhard Drews, Graeme Eagles, Olaf Eisen, Fausto Ferraccioli, René Forsberg, Peter Fretwell, Vikram Goel, Jamin S. Greenbaum, Hilmar Gudmundsson, Jingxue Guo, Veit Helm, Coen Hofstede, Ian Howat, Angelika Humbert, Wilfried Jokat, Nanna B. Karlsson, Received Sang Lee, Kenichi Matsuoka, Romain Millan, Jeremie Mouginot, John Paden, Frank Pattyn, Jason Roberts, Sebastian Rosier, Antonia Ruppel, Helene Seroussi, Emma C. Smith, Daniel Steinhage, Bo Solar, Michiel R. van den Broeke, Tas D. van Ommen, Melchior van Wessem & Duncan A. Younger, 12 December 2019, Nature Geoscience.

This challenge was funded by NASA’s Cryospheric Sciences Program and acquired assist from the Italian House Company and the German Aerospace Heart. Information and mattress topography maps are publicly out there at .

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