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Ice loss accelerates due to fracturing ice sheets of Antarctica

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As per researchers, accelerating loss of ice to the sea is getting potentially worse as grip of Antarctica’s floating ice shelves is getting loose on their adjacent bay walls. The conclusion was derived on the basis of the report of Texas University scientist in which 40 years of satellite imagery of ice sheets of Western Antarctica were analyzed. The margins of ice sheet are breaking from the rocky bay walls or the slower ice masses and are also withdrawing inland where the capability of these already melting and thin ice shelves is going to be even less to hold back grounded ice upstream.

Antarctic ice sheets losing their grip

Joseph MacGregor, a researcher says, normally over time the leading edge of an ice shelf moves forward steadily and when an iceberg calves off it retreats episodically, but it is not what is happening along the shear margins. According to Ginny Catania, co author of the study, the margins that are the seams where two glaciers join or the bay walls, resist the flow of the glacier that becomes an ice shelf when it goes afloat. Rifts are created because accelerating glacier is capable of tearing away from its margins, which counteracts the resistance of margins to ice flow and additional acceleration is caused.


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