East Antarctic glacier melting at 70.8bn tonnes a year due to warm sea water

  • 15.10.2022
  • The Guardian

The Denman ice shelf in east Antarctica is melting at a rate of 70.8bn tonnes a year, according to researchers from Australia’s national science agency, thanks to the ingress of warm sea water.

The CSIRO researchers, led by senior scientist Esmee van Wijk, said their observations suggested the Denman glacier was potentially at risk of unstable retreat.

The glacier, in remote east Antarctica, sits atop the deepest land canyon on Earth. It holds a volume of ice equivalent to 1.5m of sea level rise.

Until relatively recently, it was thought east Antarctica would not experience the same rapid ice loss that is occurring in the west. But some recent studieshave shown warm water is reaching that part of the continent too.