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Science - Ice and Snow
Scientists got their first glimpse at the ocean conditions surrounding the Thwaites Ice Shelf in 2019, and recently published results are worrisome for the rapidly melting ice shelf and the glacier behind it.
Antarctic researchers and support staff can now more easily find and avoid dangerous crevasses on long traverses carrying supplies to remote camps and stations, thanks to the help of a German radar satellite.
An ice core from West Antarctica is giving scientists insight into some intriguing climate anomalies of ages past and deepening the mystery of a volcanic eruption that destroyed a Greek island some 3,600 years ago.
The massive Thwaites Glacier on the coast of West Antarctica is falling to pieces because of climate change. Shifting ocean currents are bringing warm sea water up under its vulnerable underside, melting out the ice at its base and accelerating its movement into the ocean.
Thwaites Glacier is melting fast because of climate change, causing sea levels to rise the world over. Of all the world's glaciers, it's the one that scientists are most worried that a catastrophic collapse could happen quickly and affect coastal regions everywhere.
Antarctica's massive Thwaites Glacier is melting because of climate change, and if it collapses completely, could add about two feet to global sea level. Glaciologists are tracking it with alarm, as Thwaites has lost a tremendous amount of mass over recent decades, but its remote location in West Antarctica makes getting an up-close look at it extremely difficult.
For scientists, ice cores are an indispensable window into the past. A research team using ancient ice recovered from Antarctica, announced recently that they'd identified some of the oldest air samples ever discovered, as far back as 2 million years ago, and that they're going back for more.
A team of researchers and drilling engineers recently spent six weeks in West Antarctica carefully drilling through nearly a mile of ice to study Mercer Subglacial Lake. This body of water is buried under an ice stream, and likely hasn't seen the light of day for at least thousands and possibly hundreds of thousands, of years.
The U.S. and U.K.-funded International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC) officially kicked off its science field research in January, when four researchers and their support teams set foot on a remote, fast-melting glacier in West Antarctica, establishing a beachhead for an unprecedented international project to determine the glacier's fate.
In late 2017, a specially modified airplane contracted by NASA crisscrossed Antarctica, mapping the ice below and filling in a data gap left by a now-defunct NASA satellite called ICESat, which measured the elevation of the ice surface using a laser. Operation IceBridge flights are bridging the gap between ICESat and its successor, ICESat-2.
In January, researchers went for a more than 750-kilometer drive around the South Pole. The team followed the arc of the 88th parallel for a quarter of its distance ringing the South Pole. Their cargo was a sensitive GPS unit to record the exact elevation of the ice sheet they drove over. The effort is in support of NASA's ICESat-2 satellite, a mission devoted to measuring ice levels around the world, particularly in the polar regions.