University of Columbia conducted a new study and according to which as glaciers melting erode the land, climate change could alter the shape of the planet Earth.
“Antarctica is warming up, and as it moves to temperatures above 0-degrees celsius, the glaciers are all going to start moving faster,” said study lead author Michele Koppes, assistant professor at University of British Columbia.
“We are already seeing that the ice sheets are starting to move faster and should become more erosive, digging deeper valleys and shedding more sediment into the oceans,” Koppes noted.
According to this study repercussions of this change add to the existing complex effects of climate change in the polar area. Glaciers moving faster deposit more sediment in underflow basins and on the continental shelves, potentially impacting dams, fisheries and access to clean freshwater in mountain communities.
When the scientists compared glaciers in Antarctic Peninsula and in the Patagonia over a period of 5 years, researchers discovered that glaciers in hotter Patagonia moved even speedily and caused more erosion than those in Antarctica region, as melting ice and warmer temperatures support lubricate the bed of the glaciers.
“We found that glaciers erode 100 to 1,000 times faster in Patagonia than they do in Antarctica,” Koppes said. The new findings appeared in the journal Nature.
One of the most rapidly warming regions globally, the Canadian Arctic, witness these effects acutely. Over the last 50 years, with more than four degrees Celsius of warming, it is on the brink of a major shift that will see them flowing up to 100 times faster if the climate shifts above zero degrees.