The great rivers of ice that end up entering the oceans melt underwater at a much faster rate than previously calculated: this is the result of a study conducted by scientists at Rutgers University. Of course, such a result only makes the situation regarding the rise in sea level even more alarming.
The study, published in the Geophysical Research Letters, looked in particular at what is happening in front of the LeConte glacier in Alaska. Using kayak-like marine robots, the researchers were able to analyze the meltwater, i.e. the water released when the ice melts in the sea from the glacier.
The researchers discovered a “surprising” level of melting, as described by Rebecca Jackson, oceanographer and professor at the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Rutgers-New Brunswick. Ice melting rates are higher than expected but scientists are still unable to explain why.
In general, it is the underwater ice melting process that is still poorly understood and studies such as these could at least help in creating global models that can in turn help to assess the impact of this phenomenon with regard to sea rise levels.