No, it isn't love that moves mountains. Climate change does and scientists have evidence that could prove it.
Global warming has caused erratic weathers and is responsible for rising sea levels that threaten coastal communities. Now, a new study has revealed that climate change can also alter the shape of our planet.
In a five-year study published in the journal Nature on Oct. 1, Michele Koppes, from the University of British Columbia, and colleagues compared the glaciers in Patagonia and in the Antarctic Peninsula.
They found that the glaciers moved faster and caused more erosion in warmer Patagonia compared with those in Antarctica as warmer temperature and the melting of the ice contribute to the lubrication of the glacier bed.
Koppes said that the glaciers in Patagonia erode up to a thousand times faster than in Antarctica but as Antarctica warms up and moves to temperatures over 0 degrees Celsius, glaciers now all start to move faster.
The researcher said that they have already seen ice sheets that start to move faster and become more erosive, which creates deeper valleys and pour more sediments into the oceans.
"Glacial erosion rates are expected to increase with decreasing latitude, owing to the climatic control on basal temperature and the production of meltwater, which promotes glacial sliding, erosion and sediment transfer," Koppes and colleagues wrote in their study.
"Our findings imply that climate and the glacier thermal regime control erosion rates more than do extent of ice cover, ice flux or sliding speeds."
The phenomenon causes faster moving glaciers to pour large amount of sediments into basins and on continental shelves, which can have unwanted impacts on the dams, fisheries, and accessibility of freshwater in mountain communities.
"The polar continental margins in particular are hotspots of biodiversity," Koppes said. "If you're pumping out that much more sediment into the water, you're changing the aquatic habitat."
The Canadian Arctic is anticipated to feel these effects severely. With a dramatic rise in the temperature of the region over the last five decades, the glaciers are at the edge of a big shift that will get them flowing up to a hundred times faster should the climate get warmer.
The study likewise settles a debate on when the glaciers have the most effect in shaping landscapes and creating relief. The findings suggest that glaciers do the most erosive works near the end of each glaciation cycle than at the peak of ice cover.
Photo: David Stanley | Flickr