Climate Danger When A large Amount Of Water Is Discovered Under Antarctica

American scientists have detected large amounts of water under an Antarctic glacier. This amount of water is the result of the interaction of the continent to a warmer world.

Large amounts of water have been detected in the sediments underlying a part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The volume is equivalent to a reservoir several hundred meters deep. The water was detected under the Whillans Ice Stream, but its presence is likely to be replicated elsewhere on the White Continent.

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That being the case, it could be a major influence on how Antarctica reacts to a warmer world, researchers tell the journal Science this week. The water at the base of glaciers and ice streams generally works to lubricate their movement.

The transfer of water to or from this deep reservoir has the potential, therefore, to slow down or speed up the flow of ice. Models simulating future climate impacts will now have to take this into account.  

The detection was carried out by a team led by Dr. Chloe Gustafson of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, United States.

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