The melting of the Larsen C ice shelf in the Arctic is a major phenomenon. Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey wanted to identify the main causes. It was found that solar radiation causes the Arctic melting. But it would not be the only cause.
Rising sea levels
Investigation of the shelf is of great importance. The ice shelf may be vulnerable to collapse. This would indirectly contribute to sea level rise. why? It would create a pathway for glaciers to flow from the Antarctic continent to the sea.
The study was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. The scientists used computer models informed by direct observations of the Antarctic Peninsula region. This is the first study to examine multiple long-term factors, according to a BAS release.
The study shows that solar radiation is the most important cause of surface melting. It is followed by warm, dry winds called foehn winds and cloud properties. The large-scale weather patterns that establish these conditions are crucial contributing factors.
Dr. Ella Gilbert is a regional climate modeler at BAS and lead author of this study. She said, “We should all be concerned about ice shelves. Their loss affects us all. When ice shelves collapse, it’s like pulling the cork out of a bottle. Previously retained glaciers can flow unrestricted into the ocean, raising global sea levels. We need to understand why the ice shelf melts. We could better predict the future and prepare and adapt to future changes.”
Solar radiation causes Arctic melting, but not by itself. The climate changes and temperatures rise. Conditions that allow melting to occur will occur more frequently. why? Because surface temperatures will be at the melting point more often.
The patterns that are most important in causing melting at the shelf surface must be determined. Only then will we be able to predict the future of Larsen C. Also, tailor plans to mitigate the effects of climate change.