Warm ocean water, not warm air, is melting the Pine Island Glacier's floating ice shelf in Antarctica and may be the culprit for increased melting of other ice shelves, according to an international team of researchers.
Antarctica's recent summer season was a success for the Penn State researchers who camped out on the ice for nearly two months. Their efforts are part of a National Science Foundation-funded project to better understand melting that is happening on the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, an extension of the Antarctic ice sheet. The Penn State team is in charge of mapping the ocean cavity beneath the ice shelf.
Sridhar Anandakrishnan is away for the winter holiday, somewhere where summer is in full swing -- an ice sheet at the end of the Earth.
The Penn State professor of geosciences is leading the University team that's part of a project on the Pine Island Glacier, an extension of the Antarctic ice sheet. The goal of the National Science Foundation-funded initiative is to get a better understanding of how the glacier, the ocean and the ice shelf are interacting, and what that could mean if water temperatures rise.