46

Yes. In fact, there are sand-dunes in Antarctica [1:15].


38

You just read the news too fast. WMO announced that, after evaluation by a committee, they have validated the 18.3°C temperature recorded in February (i.e., in summer) last year: GENEVA, 1 July 2021 (WMO) - The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has recognized a new record high temperature for the Antarctic continent of 18.3° Celsius on 6 February 2020 ...


16

The idea of a southern continent is older than the actual discovery of the Antarctica. There was an expectation of the possible existence of a Terra Australis balance the global landmasses and the theory went far back. However, those models were not based on true evidence but rather aesthetic arguments that later just happened to come true. In contradiction, ...


14

Such forms tend to be created by glacial activity, which, ahem, the ice-covered continent is known for. Much discussion of this in the related question in Skeptics: Are there three pyramids in Antarctica? Here's the generic answer in Wikipedia: A pyramidal peak, sometimes in its most extreme form called a glacial horn, is an angular, sharply pointed ...


13

What you see are ice bergs frozen into a sheet of sea ice. The "chunks" are the ice bergs. Ice shelves are fed by two sources, ice from the interior of the ice sheet and ice formed by compaction of snow accumulating on the shelf itself. This means that a shelf can have very different dynamic regimes. Parts of shelves where ice is mostly formed locally will ...


13

Antarctica is the ice sheet (cap) that will contribute most IF it would melt completely. The 2013 IPCC report (Ch. 4, the Cryosphere) provides an estimate of 58.3 m of sea level equivalent (sle). Greenland would if completely wasted away provide 7.36 m sle. Remaining glaciers provide an additional 0.41 m sle. The likelihood of Antarctica completely wasting ...


12

It doesn't stay frozen. Ice evaporates (or sublimates is the correct term) under direct sunlight, but that's at a molecular level, it doesn't melt, it goes from solid to gas under sunlight and in the cold, some of this newly formed water vapor goes back being to ice. In an absolutely dry climate, well below freezing, ice would slowly sublimate and ...


11

This LiveScience article suggests the areas aren't major: The scant areas that are free of snow and ice make up less than 0.4 percent of the continental land mass. In places there, the wind has built sand dunes. This article by Burton-Johnson et al., 2016 on automated satellite analysis methods, summarized in this DailyMail article, indicates refined ...


9

Ice floats with gravity towards lower elevation, the flow continues until the base of the ice sheet becomes floating and the ice forms an ice shelf or icebergs. Due to the subglacial topography, basal melting and mass balance, the flow velocities vary over a large range, faster outflows are glaciers. The pattern is somehow similar to how rivers transport ...


9

The freezing point of carbon dioxide is -78.5C. The temperature at which carbon dioxide sublimates is not a fixed value. It instead is a function of the partial pressure of carbon dioxide. That value of -78.5° C is the temperature at which CO2 sublimates given a partial CO2 pressure of one atmosphere. The temperature needed to have CO2 sublimate given a ...


8

Probably the first recorded observation (and certainly one of the first) of the Antarctic mainland was of the Trinity Peninsula, part of the Antarctic Peninsula, by Edward Bransfield in 1820. Even from a distance, it's obvious that it's solid land. Picture source: swisseduc.ch It could have been by the fact that if you stand there you don't drift ...


7

First of all, the Earth does not receive heat from the Sun, it receives visible light that is absorbed by the surface of the Earth and then heat is re-radiated back into the atmosphere. If the surface is ice/snow, most of the light from the sun is reflected back to space. Sunlight will sublimate a little bit of the ice, but it is normally replenished at a ...


6

userLTK has explained that not all of the ice in the Antarctic stays frozen all the time. But perhaps there's a more basic view needed : sunlight in temperate areas melts all of the ice quite quickly, so why doesn't the same happen in Antarctica? There are a number of reasons, but the simplest (and probably most important?) is one of geometry, and the way ...


6

According to "Permafrost, active-layer dynamics and periglacial environments of continental Antarctica" South African Journal of Science 98. pages 82-90: Only 25% of Antarctica has permafrost, as the material beneath thick ice sheets is not permafrost. The deepest permafrost occurs where there is no ice sheet. The deepest permafrost in the Antarctic is ...


6

Glaciers move by two processes: Internal deformation Basal sliding This figure (made for my candidacy exam), exemplify both processes as if we were following a single block of ice within a glacier: Basal sliding is when the entire glacier slides together over the bedrock, aided by the lubrication of ice water between the glacier and ground. Internal ...


6

Glaciology is a large field of research, and I cannot include all aspects in a short answer. I'll try to give some concepts that can help you in your understanding of the cryosphere. Glaciers are, per definition, moving due to gravity towards lower altitudes. There are some exceptions, e.g. rock glaciers are the stagnant remain of a moving glacier. Large ...


6

There are two studies published in 2013 that provide the most recent updates on this balance Depoorter, M.A. and 6 others, 2013. Calving fluxes and basal melt rates of Antarctic ice shelves. Nature, 502, 89–92, (03 October 2013), doi:10.1038/nature12567 Rignot, E. and 3 others, 2013. Ice-Shelf Melting Around Antarctica. Science, 341, 6143, 266-270, (19 ...


6

That mountain is mount Evans (3,950 m), located in the Sentinel Range in inner Antarctica (S 78.30698°, W 85.91698°), the highest mountain range in the continent. (Map courtesy of @KeithMcClary see comments) In general, geologic features become smoother by erosion (by water, glaciers or wind). These peaks are so high that there were never covered by ...


6

The cave is created by warm water, so the ice has been replaced by the water. It is common to find areas under the front of glaciers that have been melted away by warm water. Warm water here means just warmer than the ice. The thing that's making this news is the scale of the area that has melted away. This is the situation scientists have been ...


6

The lack of oceanic and atmospheric currents going into and around Antarctica from equatorial latitudes means that much less heat is transported from the tropical latitudes to Antarctica compared to Svalbard. Therefore, at equal latitude (i.e. equal solar isolation), temperatures in the south are much colder. In Antarctica, at 75°S latitude most of the land ...


5

As to the questions of the flights: McMurdo is about 3.500 km from the next airport (Dunedin in southern New Zealand), while Longyearbyen is only 950 km from Tromsø. It simply is due to the distance and the entailed costs and risks of such a flight. Antarctica being a continent completely surrounded by water allows for specific climatic conditions. First of ...


5

I can't be sure, but I strongly suspect that the radial lines in the first two images are the result of a bug in the software used to draw the map, probably resulting from vector polygons that are described in an inappropriate coordinate system going around, or too close to, the south pole. It's impossible to guess at the meaning of the blue lines in the ...


5

Supplemental to Jean-Marie Prival's answer: The February 2020 event was already discussed here in a question posted the same day this went public: What is the second thermometer in the image from the Esperanza Antarctic temperature record? twitter.com wmo.int bloomberg.com nytimes.com theguardian.com The tweet contained an image of a literal analogue ...


4

It's an interesting thought. Antarctica is not so balanced as it might appear on the maps. East Antarctica is old, consisting probably of cratons and Proterozoic orogenic domains whiles West Antarctica is much younger, thinner and have mostly been accreted during the formation of Gondwana (See e.g Boger 2011). If there was a direct control of the location ...


4

The paper basically combines multiple datasets to figure out the changes in ice surface elevation and ice thickness at tidal and multi-year timescales. That way they were able to study grounding line migration, and the melt rate of the glacier and its corresponding ice shelf from above and below. Then they were able to make inferences of the processes ...


4

An interesting point to consider comes from your assumption of a constant rate of precipitation. Many earth system processes have non-trivial stochastic variations (or high-dimensional chaos). Consider the conservation of mass for ice: change in ice thickness = (precipitation, mass in) - (pick your favorite process, mass out). Both (mass in) and (mass out) ...


4

Yes. So far as aquifers are concerned, Antarctica is just like any other continent. The Ice is 4 kilometres thick in places, but at the bottom there is water. If there is any place where water is not found at the base of the ice sheet, there will be an aquifer within a few miles. There are about 400 sub-glacial lakes in Antarctica, the most well known being ...


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