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Die Front des Thwaites-Gletschers mit Eis unter der Wasseroberfläche im Südwesten der Antarktis im Oktober 2012. (picture alliance / Nasa / Jim Yungel )

The heat under the glaciers will raise the sea level

German and British researchers have found that warming beneath the Tavides glacier in the western Antarctic Amundsen Sea will contribute to further shrinkage of the glaciers.

According to the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bermhaven, climate change has caused global sea levels to rise by about four percent, possibly due to the melting of the largest glacier. The high heat fluxes under the ice are due to the location of the glacier, which is in a tectonic fissure and has a thin Earth surface. However, it is not clear to what extent rising geothermal energy is changing the glacier. “The temperature at the bottom of the glacier depends on a number of factors — for example, on the question of whether the surface contains small rocks or meters-thick sediments soaked in water,” explains co-author and geophysicist Carston Cole. At AWI. Excessive geothermal energy will no longer cause the underground bed of the glacier to freeze properly.

New findings need to be verified by further measurements. Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute, the Helmholtz Center for Polar and Ocean Research and the British Antarctic Survey are involved in the project.

This news was broadcast on August 19, 2021 on Deutschlandfunk.

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