Glaciers are essentially giant rivers of ice that are formed over eons as fallen snow is compressed into layers of ice. Glaciers are found on about 10 percent of Earth's land area, with most of them found in the Arctic and Antarctica regions, but some occurring high up on mountains, even in tropical areas. Glacial ice makes up the ice sheets that cover Antarctica and Greenland, with glaciers flowing out to sea, where their ends float on the water as ice shelves. Eventually pieces of the ice shelves break off, or calve, to form icebergs. The movement of glaciers scours the underlying rock, and a glacier's movement can be affected by climate change, with worries that global warming could cause substantial glacial melt and impact global sea levels. For the latest news on glacier research and stunning views of these rivers of ice, see below.
Researchers studying areas of eastern Antarctica where snow is often stripped off the surface by wind, recently found that powerful gusts are actually vaporizing massive amounts of snow, rather than blowing and redistributing it elsewhere.
"And it's melting!" according to NASA. The deep ocean beneath Greenland is fueled by currents from the subtropics. This warm and salty water is melting the ice from the bottom up and much faster than the surface water.
A glacier the size of California in East Antarctica is in danger of melting away, which could lead to an extreme thaw increases sea levels by about 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) worldwide if the glacier vanishes, a new study finds.