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East Antarctica's largest glacier melting from below - 19th December


Scientists monitoring Totten glacier have found that warm water is causing the ice shelf to melt.  The research has confirmed that warm ocean water is flowing in towards the glacier at a rate of 220,000 cubic metres per second.

As a consequence of this, 63 - 80 billion tons of the glacier's mass is being lost to the ocean each year.  The ice shelf is also losing around 10 metres of thickness annually. 

The 'catchment' area or region of ice that flows outward through Totten glacier and its ice shelf is larger than California.  The sea level rise if all the ice was to be lost to the ocean would be around 11.5 feet.

Co-author Don Blankenship, glaciologist at the University of Texas said: "this ice shelf is thinning, and it's thinning because the ocean is delivering warm water to the ice shelf, just like in West Antarctica". 

The research suggests an increasingly clear picture of ocean-driven melt that could lead to growing instability with global consequences. 

Read more HERE

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