News 12 october — 14:45

Satellites spy Antarctic 'upside-down ice canyon'

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Scientists have identified a way in which the effects of Antarctic melting can be enhanced, BBC reports.

Their new satellite observations of the Dotson Ice Shelf show its losses, far from being even, are actually focused on a long, narrow sector.

In places, this has cut an inverted canyon through more than half the thickness of the shelf structure.

If the melting continued unabated, it would break Dotson in 40-50 years, not the 200 years currently projected.

"That is unlikely to happen because the ice will respond in some way to the imbalance," said Noel Gourmelen, from the University of Edinburgh, UK.

"It's possible the area of thinning could widen or the flow of ice could change. Both would affect the rate at which the channel forms.

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