SOURCE: Agence France Presse

DATE: March 20, 2018

SNIP: More of a giant France-sized glacier in Antarctica is floating on the ocean than previously thought, scientists said Tuesday, raising fears it could melt faster as the climate warms and have a dramatic impact on rising sea-levels.

The Totten Glacier is one of the fastest-flowing and largest glaciers in Antarctica with scientists keen to keep a close eye on how it melts given the enormous amount of water it could potentially unleash.

Using artificially created seismic waves that help scientists see through the ice, researchers have discovered that more of the Totten Glacier floats on the ocean than initially thought.

The findings are important because recent studies have shown the Totten Glacier’s underbelly is already being eroded by warm, salty sea water flowing hundreds of kilometres inland after passing through underwater “gateways”.

As it does, the portion of the glacier resting on water rather than rock increases, accelerating the pace of disintegration.