Researchers have documented a huge melting incident on the surface of the most susceptible West Antarctica Ice Sheet region and they are worried that this could a bad signal for the future incidences that are likely to persist as the planet continues to warm up. The scientists found that about 300,000 square mile fraction is melting, thus indicating a drastic change of weather in the region which is usually covered with ice.
The affected area is certainly twice bigger than the size of the state of Texas. Based on the findings published in the Nature Communications, the melting is essentially caused by the strange and strong El Niño episode that happened in January 2016. The melting of such magnitude is quite rare in Antarctica. According to Julien Nicolas from the Ohio State University, there have been almost three to four of such melting extents for the last 40 years.
During summer 2016, the Ross Ice Shelf, the leading floating ice podium on Earth in the Antarctic, melted and the impact lasted for about 15 days in several places. The melting impact gives a probable indication of how the future will look like. If the melting will persist there is a possibility of the sea level rising.
The root cause of the melting is probably the warm water that is grinding down the bottom of the most vital ice shelves. A team of scientists from Ohio State University and other institutions were able to closely monitor the melting event when they established the monitoring station deep in the center of West Antarctica. The gadget discovered a thorny warming of the atmosphere and the existence of clouds that have huge amounts of moisture.
The El Niño brings the abnormal warming of liquid water in the Pacific Ocean and the according to the previous studies, the 2016 El Niño occurrence directly affected the unusual spread of the of the ice melt in Antarctic. If more severe El Niños continues to persist, the ice shelves will weaken and melt away. The melted ice will then find its way to other water bodies including the rivers and waterfalls that subsequently leak off the ice formation.