5 June 2020.
The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) in Goa has predicted that there would be a 24 per cent increase in the expansion of the Ameri Ice Shelf (AIS) boundaries in Antarctica by 2021. By the year 2026 there would be another increase of 24 % from its 2016 positions.
Highlights of the study:
- NCPOR ‘s prediction is based on a 16-year-long satellite-based observation that covered an area of 60,000 sq km across the AIS.
- NCPOR carried out this study based on the satellite data collected from 2001-2016. The data were collected during the austral summer months of January- March to understand the advancement of AIS extension and the influence of ocean atmospheric forcing in East Antarctica.
- The floating sheets of ice called ‘ice shelves’ play a multi-faceted role in maintaining the stability of a glacier.
- Ice shelves connect a glacier to the landmass.
- NCPOR has also estimated the rate at which ice shelves have extended for the last three years (2017-2019) and that is:
- The AIS extended by about 550 metres in 2017,
- 1,470 m in 2018, and
- 2,200 m in 2019.
- It is possible that in the next six years (2021-2026), the positions of the ice shelf would closely coincide with the actual boundary conditions.
- NCPOR observations indicate a critical cooling of the sea surface temperature, resulting in an advancement of the ice shelf by 88 per cent in the past 15 years.
- These changes would contribute in a major way to climate variability.
About Amery Ice Sheet:
- The AIS is one of the largest glacier drainage basins in the world.
- It is located on the east coast of Antarctica.
- The dynamics and mass balance of AIS help in understanding the changes in the global climate scenario.
About National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research:
- The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, formerly known as the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research is an Indian research and development institution, situated in Vasco da Gama, Goa.
- It performs geoscientific surveys in the Arabian Sea and explore the ocean for resources such as multi-metal sulphides,gas hydrates etc.