GPS Reveals Antarctic Bedrock Rising


The entirety of West Antarctica contains enough ice that, if it were to melt, would cause oceans to rise about 3m. While the West Antarctic ice sheet is at risk of collapse, GPS data suggests this crisis could be averted because the bedrock supporting it is rising.

Using GPS, an international team of researchers found that the viscosity of the mantle under the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is much lower than expected, with the crust rebounding faster than expected, possibly stabilising against catastrophic collapse. According to the study, in 100 years, the uplift rates at the GPS sites will be 2.5 to 3.5 times more rapid than currently observed.

Participating researchers led by scientists at the Ohio State University installed a series of GPS stations on rock outcrops around the region to measure the Earth’s rise in response to thinning ice. Measurements showed that the bedrock uplift rates near the coast of West Antarctica were as high as 4cm per year, one of the fastest rates ever recorded in glacial areas.

Read more in GPS World article.