Enlarge / In 2002, the Larsen B ice shelf disintegrated in a matter of weeks. (credit score: NASA EO)
In 2016, a examine discovered that including a pair new processes to a mannequin of the Antarctic ice sheets made them way more susceptible to soften, tremendously rising world sea degree rise—each this century and within the centuries to come back. It was an alarming consequence, to make sure, but additionally a bit conjectural. The researchers didn’t have a technique to assess how realistically the brand new processes had been modeled, so that they considered their paper as elevating a query deserving consideration fairly than offering a solution.
The brand new processes had been the collapse of ice cliffs above a sure peak (a theoretical constraint, however not one thing we’ve watched occur) and hydrofracturing. The latter is a propagation of a floor fracture within the ice clear by means of to the underside of the ice sheet because the crack fills with water. Hydrofracturing is a recognized commodity—it was in all probability the dominant course of within the sudden collapse of Antarctica’s Larsen B ice shelf in 2002. The query right here, as an alternative, is how susceptible is the remainder of Antarctica to this course of?
A brand new examine led by Ching-Yao Lai at Columbia College’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has tried to reply that query by mapping fractures and calculating the place hydrofracturing ought to be doable.Learn 10 remaining paragraphs | Feedback