Volcano Under Antartica’s Fastest Melting Glacier Debunks Global Warming
The new findings will now play a critical role in how scientists perceive climate change
Scientists from the University of East Anglia, UK have discovered an active volcanic heat source emanating from underneath Antarctica’s fastest-melting glacier, previously thought to be the result of global warming.
The scientists, who are part of an international team, found the volcanic heat source under the Pine Island Glacier which plays a crucial role in its movement and melting.
The new findings will now play a critical role in how scientists understand the movement and stability of West Antarctic Ice Sheet and how much the 'climate change' effects it.
Despite the revelations, some mainstream scientists still insist that climate change is still the number one cause for the glacier melt.
According to scitecheuropa: The team conducted a major expedition to Antarctica in 2014 and worked aboard an icebreaker from January to March.
Professor Karen Heywood, from UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences and chief scientist for the expedition, said:
“We measured …helium in the water coming out of the cavity beneath a floating ice shelf. This gas comes from the earth’s mantle, where there are active volcanoes under the Antarctic ice sheet.
“The discovery of volcanoes beneath the Antarctic ice sheet means that there is an additional source of heat to melt the ice, lubricate its passage towards the sea, and adding to the melting from warm ocean waters.
“It will be important to include this in our efforts to estimate whether Antarctic ice sheet might become unstable and further increase sea level rise,” she added.
Findings from the expedition
The West Antarctic Ice Sheet lies atop a major volcanic rift system, but there had been no evidence of current magmatic activity, and although volcanic heat source can be traced to dormant volcanoes, what the scientists found at Pine Island was new.
Lead researcher Professor Brice Loose from the University of Rhode Island (USA), said:
“We weren’t looking for volcanism. When we first started seeing high concentrations of helium-3, we thought we had a cluster of bad or suspicious data.”
“When you find helium-3, it’s like a fingerprint for volcanism. We found that it is relatively abundant in the seawater at the Pine Island shelf.”
This evidence of volcanism is a new factor to consider when monitoring the stability of the ice sheet.
The university has said that the heat energy released by the volcanoes and hydrothermal vents suggests that the heat source beneath Pine Island is about 25 times greater than the bulk of heat flux from an individual dormant volcano.
“Climate change is causing the bulk of glacial melt that we observe, and this newly discovered source of heat is having an as-yet-undetermined effect because we do not know how this heat is distributed beneath the ice sheet.”
The research was carried out in collaboration with the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton, UK, Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, USA, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University William, USA, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, USA; and the British Antarctic Survey.