Robotic ‘Dolphins’ Offer New Clues About Antarctic Ice Melt

November 12, 2014 10:38 PM

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Robotic ‘Dolphins’ Offer New Clues About Antarctic Ice Melt

Researchers are getting a first-ever fish-eye’s view of Antarctica’s ice with the aid of three robotic “dolphins.” The battery-powered gliders, each about 2 meters (6 feet 6 inches) in length, can descend up to 1,000 meters and measure temperature and salinity in places that would otherwise be unreachable. The new technology has changed the way scientists collect data in isolated polar regions, Reuters reported.

Among the gliders’ discoveries were that Antarctica’s ice may be melting from the bottom up. The robots found turbulent warm water underneath ice shelves in Antarctica’s Weddell Sea that could be causing the ice to thaw – a theory that has been proposed before but that, until now, had little empiric...

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