Strong El Nino Could Affect Ice Shelves On Antarctic

Strong El Nino Could Affect Ice Shelves On Antarctic
Image source: YouTube Video Screenshot

It’s no secret that the ice from the glaciers on Antarctica are melting due to the increased climate changes around the world. However, a study suggests that the warmer waters in Antarctica coming from the Pacific Ocean are due to the presence of a strong El Nino. The study behind this discovery was funded by NASA and the Space Science Fellowship and it unveils the fate of ice shelves on the Antarctic due to oceanic and atmospheric changes around the world.

The El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon consists of two phases – El Nino, which is connected to above average temperatures around the tropical areas of the Pacific, and La Niña, associated with lower than average temperatures around the same area. The area which is affected by ENSO is large. It spreads around the world and affects Antarctica most in the area which is closer to the Pacific Ocean.

The study was led by Fernando Paolo, a postdoctoral scholar at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but was a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego at the time that the study was conducted. Scientists discovered that during strong El Nino years, it caused “ice shelves in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica to gain mass at the surface and melt from below at the same time, losing up to five times more ice from basal melting than they gain from increased snowfall,” according to the statement published on Monday.