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Massive East Antarctic Ice Sheet has history of instability

The East Antarctic Ice Sheet locks away enough water to raise sea level an estimated 53 meters (174 feet), more than any other ice sheet on the planet. It's also thought to be among the most stable, not gaining or losing mass even as ice sheets in West Antarctica and Greenland shrink. But new research has found that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet may not be as stable as it seems. In fact, the ice sheet has a long history of expanding and shrinking -- a finding that indicates the ice sheet may contribute substantially to global sea-level rise as Earth's climate warms. The new results came from geophysical and geologic data collected during the first-ever oceanographic survey of East Antarctica's Sabrina Coast. The glaciers in this region may be particularly susceptible to climate change because they flow from the Aurora Basin, a region of East Antarctica that lies mostly below sea level.

Visit Website | Image credit: Steffen Saustraup/University of Texas Institute for Geophysics