DATE: April 18, 2018
SNIP: Sea level rise could be happening at a faster rate than previously thought, as scientists have identified a new source of melting ice in Antarctica.
Melting glaciers can create a positive feedback loop in which the more they melt, the more they drive further melting, according to the Australian team.
They predict that the processes they identified could be playing a role in accelerating both sea level rise and climate change.
As glaciers melt, they produce fresh water. When this meltwater enters the ocean surrounding the glacier it makes the surface layer less salty and therefore more buoyant.
This leads to a layer of water floating on the surface, and prevents the natural mixing of the ocean.
The lack of mixing becomes a problem during winter, as it prevents warm water at greater depths from mixing with cooler water above.
With a pool of warm water underneath them, the melting of the bottom side of the glaciers accelerates.