Much of the concern for global warming has been focused on the Arctic Ocean, where sea ice is disappearing faster than scientists had predicted. The southern regions of the Earth didn’t seem to be as affected. But new satellite images from NASA’s QuikScat satellite are showing that Antarctica is melting too.
QuikScat measured snowfall accumulation and melting in Antarctica, tracking the period from July 1999 through July 2005. Scientists analyzing the results found that several distinct regions across the continent were accelerating their rate of snow melt. And these regions were places nobody would have anticipated. There was evidence of melting 900 km (560 miles) inland from the open ocean, only 500 km (310 miles) from the South Pole, and 2,000 metres (6,600 feet) above sea level.
These melting regions don’t actually reach the sea; however, they refreeze into an extensive ice layer. The water can penetrate into ice sheets through cracks and glacial shafts, and then lubricate the underside of the ice sheet at the bedrock, causing the ice mass to move more quickly towards the ocean, and raising sea levels.
Original Source: NASA/JPL News Release