Warming ocean thawing Antarctic glacier, researchers say

Release Date: 2013-09-18

bore hole on Pine island Glacier, photo by M. Truffer


CONTACT: Diana Campbell, 907-474-5229, dlcampbell [at] alaska [dot] edu

Fairbanks, Alaska— For the first time, researchers completed an extensive exploration of how quickly ice is melting underneath a rapidly changing Antarctic glacier, possibly the biggest source of uncertainty in global sea level projections.

Martin Truffer, a physics professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Tim Stanton, an oceanographer with the Naval Postgraduate School, were able to look underneath the Pine Island Glacier on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and take exact measurements of the undersea melting process.

“This particular site is crucial, because the bottom of the ice in that sector of Antarctica is grounded well below sea level and is particularly vulnerable to melt from the ocean and break up,” said Truffer, a researcher with UAF’s Geophysical Institute. “I think it is fair to say that the larges