Totten, a glacier close to the South Pole, as big as the whole country of France, is melting under the effect of global warming, thus aggravating the risks of rising sea levels.
The Totten Glacier, located in eastern Antarctica, is being closely monitored by the scientific community; an anxiety related to its melting, as its floating surface increases. On Tuesday, March 20, researchers from the Australian Antarctic Program reported in a statement that the floating part of the glacier, the other resting on the rock, is larger than they previously thought.
However, the more of its surface that is in contact with water, the more it becomes fragile. According to Paul Winberry, a professor at Central Washington University, one of the team members, “this may also mean that the Totten will be more sensitive to climate variations in the future.”
The danger of this thaw would be a very large increase in the level of the oceans, which would then cover part of the coastal lands. According to Ben Galton-Fenzi, the glaciologist at the head of the expedition, the Totten would contain enough ice to raise the sea level by three meters if it melted entirely.
Since 2002, Antarctica has lost 125 gigatonnes of ice a year, according to NASA. The melting of the ice of the white continent, which concentrates 62% of the planet’s fresh water reserves, would provoke a de-salinization of the world’s seas. A mechanism that would be fatal for many marine species.