Rising CO2 Could Make Glaciers, Ice Caps More Vulnerable to Cracking

You're no doubt aware by now that the Arctic is melting at unprecedented rates and by and large the world's glaciers are retreating, both with the blame placed on warming temperatures. New research shows, however, that it's not just the additional warmth that's affecting ice and the poles and in the mountains. Scientists from MIT have determined that rising CO2 in the atmosphere is also decreasing the strength of ice.

Using computer simulations the researchers determined that the fracture toughness and material strength of ice "significantly decreases," due to decreased strength of hydrogen bonds in the ice, under higher concentrations of CO2,

The study's lead author Prof Markus Buehler says:

If ice caps and glaciers were to continue to crack and break into pieces, their surface area that is exposed to the air would be significantly increase, which could lead to accelerated melting and reduced coverage area on the Earth. (Science Daily)

Read the research: Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics

Related Content on Treehugger.com