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Science & Technology

Strange 'crater' discovered in Antarctica

December 13, 2016 | Comment icon 65 comments

The ice sheets are showing worrying signs of collapse. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Jason Auch
A large hole in the King Baudoin ice shelf has challenged what we know of the East Antarctic ice sheet.
The mysterious 'crater', which had been initially reported to be a meteorite impact site, turned out to be a collapsed lake with a 'moulin' - a hole which allowed the water to flow into the ocean.

"That was a huge surprise," said study co-author Stef Lhermitte. "Moulins typically are observed on Greenland and we definitely never see them on an ice shelf."

Further investigation also revealed other meltwater lakes under the ice across the region which had up until now been considered far more stable than the West Antarctic ice sheet.
The explanation lies firmly in the way climate change has been affecting the planet's poles. In this case, the reflective snow on the surface had been blown away by warm winds, exposing the ice underneath which then absorbed the Sun's rays rather than bouncing them back in to space.

"Our research has shown that East Antarctica is also vulnerable to climate change," said study lead author Jan Lenaerts of Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Under normal circumstances much of the ice erosion is compensated for by the accumulation of fresh snow and ice on the surface, but more recently scientists have determined that excess heat from global warming has been absorbed by the oceans, raising the average global air temperature.

"These processes - previously unseen in East Antarctica - indicate that further warming may amplify the risk of ice shelf collapse," said Martin Siegert of Imperial College London.

Source: | Comments (65)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #56 Posted by Badfish312 6 years ago
You say you refuse to get into Cook et al.† I take it it's about his 97% consensus†work?† I must admit I haven't "studied" his work, only read his "report"† Is there a way to get you to talk about it? †
Comment icon #57 Posted by Badfish312 6 years ago
Remember below?† "Your response really reflected nothing more than ignorant arrogance."
Comment icon #58 Posted by ChrLzs 6 years ago
Badfish.... you said: How many times do I have to repeat YOUR words before you accept responsibility for them and drop the†strawman argument? †You have presented links about some unverified preliminary research. †WHY did you say 'more and more' scientists are 'in doubt', when your links do not back that up at all..? You are misrepresenting your cites, and frankly, you have an agenda. †Ironic that you accuse others of that - I'll now let the readers decide as†I'm not wasting further time when†clearly you are not here to debate in good faith. Bye.
Comment icon #59 Posted by Badfish312 6 years ago
You forgot†to back up your claim, as expected.............† A word can have many meanings. Anyway more and more scientists are doubting how much we contribute due to fx the previously linked. Anyone is free to look for themselves what the consensus in the field of climate†actually is.† † Also did you actually try to spend time increasing†your knowledge? I know you didn't, because if you had read the papers given to you, then you wouldn't have given above response. If it's because you can't "understand" them, then that's okay as we will just stop here.† You†show above you don't really understan... [More]
Comment icon #60 Posted by Noxasa 6 years ago
Again, as was the case in 2009 with climate-gate, we discover the corruption in NOAA regarding it's "pause-buster" paper on global warming in 2015 by the very people who were working on it within the agency. As I've always said, the real practice of the scientific method will eventually show that there is little if any evidence of anthropological global warming. Politics does it again and shows that it corrupts everything it touches.
Comment icon #61 Posted by Essan 6 years ago
No, again - as was the case, for example, in 2012 and 2013 - we find anti-scientist David Rose peddling a lot of nonsensical disinformation to the public ..... As I report in today's newsblog:
Comment icon #62 Posted by Noxasa 6 years ago
I didn't see anything in the guardian article that contradicted the claim Bates represented to Rose. †That is that the temperature data gathering and handling by NOAA in their "landmark" study did not follow the protocols that Bates helped create and thus the study results were therefore unreliable. †In fact, one of the temperature gathering scientist that responded to Rose's article even admitted that NOAA made mistakes in handling the data. †Bates helped create†those methodologies to prevent corruption of the assumed facts of the study, namely, the temperature data which is the bases for the... [More]
Comment icon #63 Posted by Doug1029 6 years ago
There are quite a number of different methodologies for handling temperature data, most of which produce slightly different results.† That someone didn't use someone else's favorite method doesn't make that someone's method invalid. For an example of how one researcher handled the problems, check: Burnetti, Dorian J., David W. Stahle and Cary J. Mock.† 2010.† Daily-Mean Temperature Reconstructed for Kansas from Early Instrumental and Modern Observations.† Journal of the American Meteorological Society.† Just to give an idea of the pro... [More]
Comment icon #64 Posted by Doug1029 6 years ago
For the most-part, there is no need to adopt a new life style or change an old one.† Wind power is cheaper than all other kinds except geothermal and unlike geothermal, is available everywhere we want it to be.† The change-over can be made between commercials just by throwing a switch - you'd never know it happened. Changing to elect vehicles might offer some inconveniences - if you forget to plug your car in at the end of the day, you might come back to a dead battery.† And on long trips, the complete battery pack might need to be changed over (But they're working on that one.). Is it an inco... [More]
Comment icon #65 Posted by docyabut2 6 years ago
I have to agree with some here, it was a ancient asteroid crater.:) I am one if the †Antarctica melted there would be a whole new continent for people to live on despite the challenges. †††

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