Animation: How a Glacier Melts

Animation: How a Glacier Melts


Animation: How a Glacier Melts


It seems like we read articles or see videos everyday about the existential climate crisis our planet is facing, but I haven’t seen a better representation explaining the process of how glaciers melt than this animation from NASA.

The video explains how glacial meltwater actually runs beneath the glacier, enters the ocean, rises to the top, and pushes salt water below causing more melt.  It’s a pretty neat animation that won’t make you feel any less concerned with climate change, but at least you’re better informed about what’s going on.

Some people say ignorant is bliss, and they’re absolutely 1000% right…

NASA Video: “When warm summer air melts the surface of a glacier, the meltwater bores holes down through the ice. It makes its way all the way down to the bottom of the glacier where it runs between the ice and the glacier bed, and eventually shoots out in a plume at the glacier base and into the surrounding ocean.

The meltwater plume is lighter than the surrounding ocean water because it doesn’t contain salt. So it rises toward the surface, mixing the warm ocean water upward in the process. The warm water then rubs up against the bottom of the glacier, causing even more of the glacier to melt. This often leads to calving – ice cracking and breaking off into large ice chunks (icebergs) – at the front end, or terminus of the glacier.

Video credit: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Esprit Smith (JPL): Lead Producer
Josh Willis (JPL): Lead Scientist and Narrator”

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