A new study has found that parts of the Ross ice shelf in the Antarctic are melting at unprecedented levels thanks to lukewarm water.
The survey – conducted over the past four years, includes scientists from New Zealand working to prevent sea level rise.
The Ross ice shelf is a floating block of ice, about this size of Spain. It is melting from below – at a faster rate than Kiwi scientists expect
"It's melting at the equivalent of 30 meters per year, which is an extremely high melting rate for ice anywhere in Antarctica," said Mike Williams of NIWA physicist.
Williams discovered that the winds are preventing the formation of sea ice along parts of the Ross ice shelf.
That means the ocean is exposed to the sun – warming the surface of the sea in summer and melting the ice shelf up to 10 times faster.
"They really play an important role in preventing the largest ice sheet from falling into the ocean, and it is the ice that lies on the ground as it slides into the ocean and melts, which increases sea level," said glaciologist Tim Naish. .
Dr. Williams said that it is a new challenge to include in his modeling.
Naish hopes governments around the world will work together to help prevent global temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius and slowing the melting.
The problem is urgent and to solve it on a global scale, we really need the leadership of the government in this, "he said.
An alarming trend, captured by New Zealand scientists – monitoring the world's largest ice shelf and its impact on sea level.