As they seep and calve into the sea, melting glaciers and ice sheets are raising global water levels at unprecedented rates. To predict and prepare for future sea-level rise, scientists need a better understanding of how fast glaciers melt and what influences their flow.

Now, a study by MIT scientists offers a new picture of glacier flow, based on microscopic deformation in the ice. The results show that a glacier’s flow depends strongly on how microscopic defects move through the ice.

The researchers found they could estimate a glacier’s flow based on whether the ice is prone to microscopic defects of one kind versus another. They used this relationship between micro- and macro-scale deformation to develop a new model for how glaciers flow. With the new model, they mapped the flow of ice in locations across the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Source: ENN

The post Microscopic Defects in Ice Influence How Massive Glaciers Flow, Study Shows appeared first on