In the 1940s, Antarctica was already beginning to melt

While the melting of Antarctic ice is faster than expected, researchers have shown that they have actually been melting for more than 70 years! At the time, however, we were not talking about global warming.

Towards the end of the Second World War, the ice on the continent located at the South Pole had begun to melt. According to a geophysical study published in the journal Nature on November 23, 2016, the Île de Pin glacier had begun to melt at that time. The researchers believe that this glacier located at a depth of 2000 meters could indeed be one of the main players in the rise in water levels on a global scale.

The Isle of Pine is located in West Antarctica and its glacier which is the source of the Antarctic Ice Shield holds the unenviable record for the greatest loss of water volume. (See diagram below).

(Image credit: Nature)
(Image credit: Nature)

The glacier has been shrinking gradually for decades and today it is shrinking by more than a meter each year, also weakening the glacier plateau. In the 1970s, the glacier mostly broke away from this same plateau which formed a natural border for ocean waters.

During the winter of 2012, the researchers carried out drilling at a depth of 450 meters in the ice in order to recover some remains of this natural edge. This is what made it possible to understand that the melting had started around 1945, when the ice covered the famous plateau.

Additionally, the seasonally warm coastal El Niño current located generally off Peru and Ecuador had contributed to the onset of the Antarctic melt between 1939 and 1942. The researchers also came to a conclusion tinged with alarmism: the melting of Antarctica is irreversible.

This year, several studies have tried to show that the models for predicting the melting of the South Pole ice should be revised since the researchers believe that the process is happening more quickly.

Sources: Futura Sciences – Sputnik

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