Warm ocean driving ice sheet loss, by Jonathan Amos (BBC News)
Reporting from the European Geosciences Union, Amos summarizes the recent research on Antarctic ice sheet loss driven by warmer ocean temperatures. Not only is this eating away at the edges of the ice sheet, but as the edges lose mass it causes glaciers to move to the edge of the continental shelf faster, causing a feedback effect. Interestingly, the warm water current is propelled by winds. Conventional wisdom has always been that Greenland would be of more concern than the Antarctic in the short term so this is really interesting. It’s also a nice illustration of feedback loops, and chilling for anyone who’s concerned about accelerated sea level rise.
See also: Pritchard et al, Extensive dynamic thinning on the margins of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Nature 461, 971-975 (15 October 2009) – the image above is sourced from this article; Duarte et al, Abrupt climate change in the Arctic. Nature Climate Change 2, 60–62 (2012); Fricker and Padman, Thirty years of elevation change on Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves from multimission satellite radar altimetry. Journal of Geophysical Research 117 (2012).