Photo Friday: Antarctic Glaciers Monitored by NASA

As the world’s fifth largest continent, Antarctica provides a unique record of the Earth’s past climate through its geomorphological record of glacier moraines. Antarctic glaciers terminate on land or in the sea as either floating ice shelves or grounded or floating outlet glaciers. As such, numerous climate scientists are conducting research about the ice shelf and glacier landforms in the southernmost continent to detect melting.

Specifically, a group of scientists with NASA’s Operation IceBridge mission have been doing field research over the Getz Ice Shelf in West Antarctica to collect data to monitor changes in polar ice and glaciers. The leading scientist, Nathan Kurtz, believes that Getz and glaciers in Antarctica are experiencing some of the highest basal melt rates in the world.

Take a look at some photos that demonstrate glacial melt in West Antarctica:

Getz crevasses (Source: Jeremy Harbeck/NASA)
Getz crevasses (Source: Jeremy Harbeck/NASA).

 

Evidence of a break along the front edge of Getz Ice Shelf, Antartica (Source: Margie Turrin/Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory).
Evidence of a break along the front edge of Getz Ice Shelf, Antartica (Source: Margie Turrin/Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory).

 

Glaciers on mountains in Marie Byrd Land above Getz Ice Shelf (source:NASA)
Glaciers on mountains in Marie Byrd Land above Getz Ice Shelf (Source: NASA).

 

Tidewater glacier on Antarctic coast (source: Jason Auch/Flickr)
A tidewater glacier on the Antarctic coast (Source: Jason Auch/Creative Commons).

 

Jean de Pomereu (French, b. 1969), Fissure 2 (Antarctica) from Sans Nom, 2008, archival inkjet print, 107 x 129 cm, Whatcom Museum, Gift of the artist
A large crack leading to an Antarctica glacier (Source: Jean de Pomereu/Creative Commons).
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