Question of the reader - the answer of a scientist
How does glacier melting affect ocean level changes?
Glaciers are indeed melting - in Antarctica as well. A warm current comes under the glacier and begins to undermine this glacier. But the melting does not occur abruptly.

Imagine a large pile of sand. If you start to undermine it from the side, then a notch will form in it. But if you dig further, more and more sand will begin to fall into this groove. In the same way it is in Antarctica: when warm water penetrates into one valley and destroys one small glacier, it opens a road further into the depths of the continent.

Scientists believe that if this process continues, the rate of melting of the continental glacier of Antarctica may be too intense - and this could cause a rise in sea level by 6-10 meters. But such a process will stretch over fifty years, melting will not happen in one one-time leap.

True, no one knows anything for sure - this process can both intensify and weaken. Water can continue to cool down with progress and lose its destructive abilities. So scientists in Antarctica are keeping a close eye on how things are changing.

Also, glaciers can potentially stop warm currents.

This is due to the fact that they are composed of fresh water, and the water in the oceans is salty. Salt water is constantly moving - because rising salinity and lower temperatures make the water denser (and heavier). When it cools down, it goes to the bottom, and a new one comes in its place. It also cools down, also sinks, and this ensures a constant circulation of water in the ocean. This process is called thermohaline circulation.

If a glacier melts, a huge volume of fresh (and less dense) water is formed, which, unlike salty water, will not sink anywhere. A warm current, meeting with volumes of stagnant fresh water, can stop. This happened, for example, at the end of the ice age: the melting of glaciers led to the release of fresh water into the ocean, the movement of water masses stopped, the glaciers froze, then the circulation resumed, and they melted again. This greatly slowed down the process.

But we do not have to worry, for example, about the warm current of the Gulf Stream - the Gulf Stream flows towards Europe, so the melting of ice from the Arctic Ocean does not threaten it with a stop. But in general, the processes in the ocean should not be neglected!

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