Antarctic Ice Sheet Melting

Amy Rodriquez Miller, Senior Communitarian Report

From 2003 to 2019, the West Antarctic ice sheet contributed 3 inches of global sea-level rise, and 1.5 inches of that total came from Thwaites Glacier according to  Dr. Atsuhiro Muto, associate professor of Earth and Environmental Science from Temple University, who spoke at DCCC Downingtown Nov. 7.

Dr. Atsuhiro Muto spoke about his most recent trip to the Antarctic, the journey to the South Pole, and the geophysical techniques he used as a scientist to capture data.

Dr. Muto took a trip to Antarctica in 2019 to study the melting ice sheet, the Thwaites Glacier. “The media refers to Thwaites Glacier as ‘Doomsday Glacier,’ but that is not what scientists call it,” said Dr. Muto.

He described how a laser from a satellite measures the amount of surface elevation on the ice sheet. “Over time, there have been significant changes,” Dr. Muto explained. “In some areas, there are gains, but in most of the areas, the elevation has gone down.” The tools used in the data collection expedition measure the surface elevation of the ice shelf.

 Dr. Muto spoke with extreme passion when he remarked, “We need more data on how fast the ice will melt. Will it take 10, 50, or 100 years? Those are the questions we are trying to answer.”

 The event was part of the College-Wide Reading Program about climate change for the 2022-2023 school year. It is part of the Stem Speaker Series.

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