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New research published in the journal Science Advances and led by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania (AU) has determined that Antarctic glacial meltwater makes the ocean's surface layer less salty and more buoyant, which prevents deep mixing in winter and thus allows warm water at depth to retain its heat and further melt glaciers from below.
Excerpt from the IMAS news......
“We found that in this way increased glacial meltwater can cause a positive feedback, driving further melt of ice shelves and hence an increase in sea level rise," said IMAS PhD. student Alessandro Silvano.
The researchers also found that fresh, Antarctic meltwater reduces the formation and sinking of dense water in some regions, which in turn slows ocean circulation that normally takes up and stores CO2 and heat.
"In combination, the two processes we identified feed off each other to further accelerate climate change," said Silvano.
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