American scientists, led by the University of Oregon in the USA, provides for the first time direct observations of underwater melt rates from the LeConte Sea Glacier, southeast Alaska, thanks to the complete collection of data on the ocean, ice and atmosphere between 2016 and 2017. When compared with two theoretical methods of measurement, “we found that the melting rates in most of the glacier were extremely high compared to those predicted by theory,” says David Sutherland, lead author of the work published in Science and an oceanographer. at the American university. In some places those rates were up to 100 times higher than theory predicted. The study also made it possible to show the spatial distribution of melting on the ice surface

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and how it changed over time between two Montenegro Email List seasons. “In the models both the distribution and the magnitude of the thaw should increase,” adds Sutherland. The scientists also found that melting rates were higher in summer than in spring. “In August, the highest melting rates were found along the line that connects the glacier with the land, which implies that the glacier could be cut and destabilized,” the expert emphasizes. An innovative and simple method The team of oceanographers and glaciologists used sonar to scan the underwater face of the glacier, as well as measurements of currents, temperature and salinity to estimate the flow of meltwater, and radar to measure the speed of the glacier over water. The fast camera photographic technique was also

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used to detect the detachment of the iceberg; and data from the meteorological station to calculate the melting of the glacier surface. They then looked for changes in melting patterns between the August and May measurements. These findings could improve projections of sea level rise caused by rising temperatures “We tried the simplest thing we could imagine: a multibeam sonar tilted to the side to visualize the surface of the subsurface ice (rather than the seafloor),” explains Sutherland, who was surprised that the method worked. But since the glacier is very active, releasing small and large icebergs constantly, and flowing very fast – about 25 meters every day or about 91 cm every three hours – they had to repeat it several times to capture the

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