In East Antarctica, there is a massive floating ice sheet known
as the Totten Ice Shelf.
Totten Ice Shelf is a large glacier draining a major portion
of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, through the Budd Coast of Wilkes Land in the
Australian Antarctic Territory. The catchment drained by the glacier is
estimated at 538,000 km2.
For now, the structure is stable, but researchers discovered
warming waters underneath.
A team of researchers discovered that the warm water from
the surrounding ocean is flowing underneath the sheet. This may melt away the
ice, and melt it from underneath.
It has been thinning over the past few decades.
A study published in 2015 concluded that Totten Glacier has
the largest contribution of ice thinning rate on the East Antarctic continent,
and that the thinning is driven by enhanced basal melting.
The scary fact is that if the Totten Ice Shelf were to melt,
it is estimated to have a catchment area capable of generating a sea level rise
of 3.5 meters.
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