Today we started re-measuring ice thickness at the locations we have already surveyed. We are looking for changes because of the melting from the bottom of the glacier.
While melting sometimes occurs at the surface, floating Antarctic glaciers mostly melt at their base due to warm ocean waters. Not much is known about these basal melt rates because they are difficult to measure from the surface.
We don’t expect high basal melt rates so far South and away from the open ocean, but our state-of-the-art instruments can detect even the smallest changes over a short time period. Perhaps our expectations will be wrong?
In parts of Western Antarctica, basal melt rates can be over 20m per year.Wow!