Climate: Scientists find weak spot in West Antarctic ice sheet

Summit County Citizens Voice

Sub-glacial basin seen as potential trigger for ice shelf collapse

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Ice-penetrating radar has hlep scientists discover a mile-deep sub-glacial basin beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet near the Weddell Sea. The location, shape and texture of the basin — about the size of New Jersey — suggest that this region of the ice sheet is at a greater risk of collapse than previously thought.

“If we were to invent a set of conditions conducive to retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, this would be it,” said Don Blankenship, senior research scientist at The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics and co-author on the new paper.

“With its smooth bed that slopes steeply toward the interior, we could find no other region in West Antarctica more poised for change than this newly discovered basin at the head of the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf…

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