Some Antarctic ice shelves grew in area over the last 20 years – study

Credit: British Antarctic Survey

Much ado about sea ice in recent times, but usually in terms of promoting climate alarm. On closer inspection East Antarctica (2/3rds of the continent) tells a somewhat different story.
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Some ice shelves in the eastern Antarctic have grown in the last 20 years despite global warming, a study suggests.

Researchers say that sea ice, pushed against the ice shelves by a change in regional wind patterns, may have helped to protect the ice shelves from losses, reports Yahoo News.

Ice shelves are floating sections of ice attached to land-based ice sheets and they help guard against the uncontrolled release of inland ice into the ocean.

During the late 20th century, high levels of warming in the eastern Antarctic Peninsula led to the collapse of the Larsen A and B ice shelves in 1995 and 2002 respectively.

These events drove the acceleration of ice towards the ocean, ultimately accelerating the Antarctic Peninsula’s contribution to sea level rise.

There was then a period when some ice shelves grew in area, but since 2020 there has been an increase in the number of icebergs breaking away from the eastern Antarctic Peninsula.

Academics, who used a combination of historical satellite measurements, along with ocean and atmosphere records, said their observations “highlight the complexity and often-overlooked importance of sea ice variability to the health of the Antarctic Ice Sheet”.

The team of researchers from Cambridge University, Newcastle University, and New Zealand’s University of Canterbury found that 85% of the 1,400km-long (870 miles) ice shelf along the eastern Antarctic Peninsula “underwent uninterrupted advance” between surveys of the coastline in 2003-4 and 2019.

This was in contrast to the extensive retreat of the previous two decades.

Research, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, suggests the growth was linked to changes in atmospheric circulation, which led to more sea ice being carried to the coast by wind.

Full report here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

May 12, 2022 at 10:33AM

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