Scientists have found that the glaciers of Alaska melt 100 times faster than previously thought
Oceanographers from the University of Oregon investigated the speed with which the glaciers of Alaska melt and found that in some places it is a hundred times higher than what was previously thought, because experts have overlooked the importance of melting the entire environment, reports hightech.fm.
“The rates of melting that we measured were about 10-100 times higher than in theory,” said study lead author David A. Sutherland, an oceanographer at the University of Oregon.
Reportedly, the measurements were carried out over two years using a sonar. The temperature, salinity of the water was studied, in order to estimate the scale of the melting of the fresh-water glacier. As a result, it turned out that the underwater glacier Leconte, located in the south of the state capital city of Juneau, is melting a hundred times faster than previously thought. Other glaciers are also rapidly losing mass.
According to scientists, the error was due to the fact that earlier the cause of the melting of the ice was cleaned “plumes” of melt water, washing away the glaciers. However, it turned out that ambient melting caused by a general temperature increase has a much more serious effect on the glacier. The melting glaciers of Alaska will also contribute to rising sea levels.
Researchers also collected data on temperature, salinity, and water velocity downstream of the glacier to estimate melt flow. Based on this, the team was able to look at the dynamic changes in melts between August and May.
“We measured both the properties of the ocean in front of the glacier and the speed of melting, and as a result we found that they are not connected in the way we expected,” said the author and oceanographer, Professor Rebecca Jackson.
“Both sets of measurements show that melting rates are significantly, sometimes up to 100 times, higher than the current theory predicts,” she says.
Researchers report that melt rates were high in both seasons, but especially increased from spring to summer.