The permafrost in Antarctica is melting at an accelerating rate

29.07.2013


Intriguing news again came from Antarctica — the first time scientists have found that the permafrost in Antarctica is melting at an accelerating rate, and this is not due to global warming, according to RIA-Novosti reported with reference to the journal Scientific Reports.

Scientists led by Joseph Levy (Joseph Levy) from the University of Texas at Austin (USA) gathered data on the melting of underground ice in Garwood Valley, located in the Dry Valleys of McMurdo in Victoria Land, Antarctica.

Scientists have found that the rate of melting permafrost rose from 2001 to 2012 and is now about 10 times higher than the average rate specific to the current geological epoch.

Previously it was thought that the permanent ice of Antarctica are subject only to seasonal fluctuations. However, Levy and his colleagues showed that the permafrost is melting in the valley of Garwood, and geological traces of such processes in the near past, no. They found that the 400-meter sub-surface glacier in this valley is losing about 5,000 cubic meters of ice per year from 2001-2002, and it decreased by almost 45,000 cubic meters.

Scientists are not associated with the melting of the ice warming. In the Dry Valleys region from 1986 to 2000 was observed cooling, after which the temperature rise was not. The researchers attributed the melting of permafrost changes in the weather, because of which the amount of sunlight reaching the soil in the area has increased.

Sunlight is reflected from the surface of the well of the glacier, but the darker surface of the earth, beneath which lurks permafrost, absorbs more solar energy. A thick layer of sediment protects the subsurface ice from the sun's heat, and the thin, however, heats and warms himself lying underneath led.Tayanie ground ice is changing the landscape as the soil over them squander.

In some places, the glacier drawdown in 2001 reached 15 meters. As to the effect of sunlight be added the predicted rate of global warming, melting ice and the "shrinkage" of the landscape will be accelerated, the scientists predict.

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