NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) — A graduate student and an oceanographer from the University of Rhode Island are just back from the coast of Antarctica, after spending six weeks trying to figure out why a glacier is melting faster than others.
The Pine Island Glacier is the fastest melting glacier on Antarctica, and it is holding back large quantities of ice from flowing into the ocean. URI oceanographer Brice Loose and graduate student Arash Bigdeli joined a team of scientists looking at the glacier.
“If the ice on Antarctica starts to move into the ocean quickly, that would have huge implications for sea level rise,” Loose said in a news release this week.
It’s necessary to see how fast the glacier is melting to know how sea levels will be rising.
“The melting of Antarctica has the potential to raise sea level by 57 meters, though that’s not a realistic scenario anytime soon,” Loose said.
The scientists still have months of analysis ahead, but they’re already able to tell the water around Pine Island Glacier has cooled down, and is not as warm as it had been in previous years.