2011-08-22 19:19:11Giant fjords under East Antarctic
Paul D



"Because the basin lies kilometres below sea level, seawater could penetrate beneath the ice, causing portions of the ice sheet to collapse and float off to sea. Indeed, this work shows that the ice sheet has been significantly smaller in the past."

Not sure what immediate 'danger' this might have??
The article doesn't have a lot of detail, I'm assuming it is well past this century, although the rate of change we are seeing suggests many possible scenarios.

The research is published in Nature, behind a pay wall I assume.

2011-08-22 19:41:49
Rob Painting

Yeah, paywalled. The melt is going to take centuries, but it supports a few other recent studies which suggest that the East Antarctic ice is not as stable as previously thought. In fact, it most likely supplied a  significant proportion of the sea level rise during the Pliocene.   

2011-08-22 22:23:17


I can get Nature articles.

2011-08-22 23:51:15
Paul D


Given that I just applied for a job with them, I probably shouldn't pilfer their publications :-)
When they reject my application I might reconsider (as an act of revenge!).

Maybe it could be used in a future SkS post about the Antarctic Ice sheet?

2011-08-23 03:28:12
Andy S


There's an error in that article: the basins are not five km below sea level but they are instead a few km below the top of the ice sheet.

I could do a blog post on this paper, combined with the other recent Antarctic story reported in Science. But I'd rather it be done by an ice expert like Mauri Pelto, if he's available. I believe Robert Way is in the field, as well.

If anyone else wants to have a go, just say, I have a lot on this week and would be happy to let someone else do it.

2011-08-23 04:03:40
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

I have a relationship w/ Mauri; I'll send him an email about both of the stories today.