Antarctica Makes A Bizarre Sound That Might Help Predict The Speed Of Global Warming
Antarctica always surprises us in some way. The extreme conditions of this ice continent make it almost impossible for humankind to deeply explore it. However, there are brave scientists that are monitoring slightest changes on this continent. These observations are necessary in order to slow down the pace of global warming and sea level rise.
However, scientists that are researching this area, have recorded strange tones coming from the surface of the massive Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. The sound is really creepy and it sounds like Antarctica is whistling in some bizarre tunes.
Even if it might sound like a natural soundtrack of wintery landscapes, if you listen carefully you will surely have chills run down your spine. But what do scientist have to say about this spooky phenomenon?
Rick Aster, a geophysicist at Colorado State University says: “Ice shelves are a critical element of the Antarctic glacier system. We care deeply about them because their stability in decades to come will substantially affect the global sea level rise and other issues that affect millions. This discovery provides a new tool to measure and understand how they are affected by warming in the atmosphere and oceans.”
These Antarctic investigators found out a very useful tool to measure the scale in which global warming is growing. And the tool consists in their deep understanding of the sounds that the ice surfaces make.
The creepy sound turned out to be the result of high-frequency seismic waves trapped in the firn, which is a term that represents the top couple of meters of snow.
The team of researchers discovered that these waves trapped in firn were actually created by the hum of wind that was blowing against the snow on the surface. While these recorded tones aren’t unique to Antarctica, the main thing this team found out is that this sound is changing over time according to the conditions of the environment. The frequency of the firn waves changes according to the loose snow in the top meters of the snow. The loose snow is also impacted by heavy winds and temperature shifts.
This discovery could allow quantifying which shelves have firn layers that are strongly impacted by warming events, and also reveal how resilient these snow layers might be.
When firn melts, it represents one of the first indicators of the destabilization of an ice shelf. Of course, ice shelves are very important because when they melt, the amount of water that came from them influences the sea level which could have global consequences.
Is our planet communicating that we should pay more attention to threatening global warming? Hopefully, we will be able to prevent some serious damage scientists have forecasted by this new discovery. But, if we don’t Antarctica might vanish, and we might even miss these bizarre sounds one day.