According to a new study, researchers have discovered damage to two large Antarctic glaciers through satellite images.
Researchers from the United States and several other countries published a study Monday that found that two of the fastest-changing glaciers in Antarctica, the Pine Island Glacier and the Thwaites Glacier, have developed “cracks and open fractures” that show “signs of their structural weakening. “
“These damage areas consist of very hidden areas and open fractures and are the first signs that displacement zones in both ice shelves have been structurally weakened over the last decade,” researchers wrote abstractly.
Decades of changes in atmospheric and oceanic conditions have caused sea levels to rise due to melting glaciers. According to the study, the Pine Island Glacier and the Thwaites Glacier are responsible for approx. 5 percent of global sea level rise.
“Both glaciers are showing different changes in recent decades driven by changing atmospheric and oceanic conditions, causing improved ocean-induced melting of their floating ice shelves,” scientists said.
Global sea level has risen at a speed of approx. 1.4 inches a year, according to The Science Times.
If both glaciers break, “many nearby areas would also fall apart and cause a wide collapse” and a marked rise in sea level, said Indrani Das, a professor of international Thwaites Glacier Cooperation and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. , told the outlet.
Damage development started around 1999 for the Pine Island Glacier, and damage development for the Thwaites Glacier started around 2000, but “moved further upstream” around 2016, satellite images show.
The “displacement zones” or areas of severe deformation of glaciers have increased by approx. 30% since 1992, with the fastest increase taking place between 2000 and 2010.
Researchers concluded that it is impossible for the glaciers to collapse completely in the near future because surface melting is so small, but damage in displacement zones “makes them vulnerable to improved mass loss and grounding retreat.”