Part of the world’s largest ice shelf is melting 10 times faster than the rest, reports BBC News. A new study of Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf, published in Nature Geoscience, reveals that one area is melting due to warm ocean water getting into a cavity under the shelf. The rapidly melting zone is at the front of the Ross Ice Shelf, where it juts out into a naturally ice-free part of the Southern Ocean, notes YaleEnvironment360. As it is free of sea ice, the ocean can soak up more heat from the sun. Using radar mapping to measure the rate of melting and direct observations of the ocean, the researchers found that the vulnerable region of the ice shelf is melting at about an order of magnitude faster than the rest of the ice shelf, says E&E News via Scientific American. The Hill also has the story.
Carbon Brief covered two new scientific papers this week. The first, published in Nature, traces the “fingerprint” of human-driven climate change on drought back to 1900 – a time when the UK and the US were the world’s top two emitters.
The results were “surprising”, lead author Dr Kate Marvel told Carbon Brief. “The thought that humans could have influenced global drought that far back in time is really stunning.”
The second study looked at how climate change could impact an animal that is already on the brink: the mountain gorilla. Using fecal samples taken in the wild, researchers found that Virunga mountain gorillas show elevated stress levels in months with higher-than-average temperatures and rainfall.
This suggests that the endangered apes “might be more sensitive to warming trends than previous research has suggested”, the authors say. Carbon Brief’s story has the details.