The melting of the polar ice sheets is not only raising the sea levels but also twisting the underlying surface of Earth. And according to a new study from Harvard, its effect can be seen within thousands of miles.
As the weight of the ice in Greenland, Antarctica, and the Arctic Islands gets lifted the level of Earth’s crust is rising. The movement is just averaging less than a millimeter a year and it covers a maximum of ground.
The bedrock under the ice shifts melts and breaks the ice away. We need a full understanding to figure out how the future world would look. Sophie Coulson, a geophysicist in Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico says, “A lot of work is done by the scientists beneath the ice sheets and glaciers. It was clear that the impact would be seen in the region where the glaciers are, but it would happen on a global scale was not sure.”
Studies have concluded that the ice sheets will melt, but Coulson and her colleagues had a peculiar look at horizontal shifts and also across a wider area. The deformation varies with every year.
Researchers say that the horizontal movement excels more than the vertical movement. The data from the satellite and the field measurements that were taken from 2003 to 2018 to measure three-dimensional crust movement.
This crust takes thousands of years to rebound and the change can be felt across Earth’s surface from the end of the last ice age that is 11,000 years ago. Coulson says, “The Earth is like an elastic rubber band in the current period and as a slow fluid for thousands of years.”
The effect of ice is similar to the wooden board pushed down on the water. And as soon as the weight is removed the liquid expands and fills the space. The same happens to Earth’s crust.
Ice is melting at a fast rate and it becomes more essential to study its impact on the Earth’s crust. This change is significant every year.
The study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters has helped us get to know what is happening on Earth and how the shift of ice changes its shape. More understanding, more effectively we will solve the Earth problems at a wide range.