Glaciers in East Antarctica are less stable than expected •

Last update: October 22nd, 2019 at 2:45 pm

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a new map of the eastern Antarctic coast that is causing scientists to reevaluate the stability of the region’s glaciers.

Experts have long believed that ice cover on the eastern half of Antarctica is much more secure than that of West Antarctica.

But now, new maps have revealed that a group of glaciers on the continent’s eastern coast have been retreating over the last decade.

In recent years, glaciologists have been warning about the massive Totten Glacier, which is melting in the warmer ocean conditions. The latest study shows that smaller glaciers to the east and west of Totten are melting as well.

“Totten is the biggest glacier in East Antarctica, so it attracts most of the research focus,” said Catherine Walker, a glaciologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “But it turns out that other nearby glaciers are responding in a similar way to Totten.”

The map shows the velocity of outlet glaciers in the area around Totten Glacier, which was measured between 2013 to 2018 in thousands of Landsat images.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

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