East Antarctica’s glaciers are melting, survey reveals

Scientists have identified a new group of melting glaciers on Antarctica’s east coast, long thought to be the most stable of the continent’s frozen coasts.

The fastest-moving ice in East Antarctica is found on Totten Glacier. Previous studies have revealed accelerated melt rates on Totten, the result of an influx of warm ocean water.

Newly analyzed satellite data suggests Totten is not alone.

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

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When scientists used computer models and new satellite data to analyze ice movement along Antarctica’s east coast, they found the height of four glaciers to the west of Totten, along Vincennes Bay, have dropped nine feet. The analysis showed several smaller glaciers to the east, along the Wilkes Land coast, are also shrinking.

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