Glaciers around the world are weakening due to excessive levels of carbon dioxide, according to a new study. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that increased concentrations of the gas significantly decrease the material strength of ice, making glaciers more likely to split apart. The team used a computer simulation to analyze how CO2 might affect ice fracturing on an atomic level. Lead author Markus Buehler said this decrease in strength could set off a chain reaction resulting in faster ice melt. "If ice caps and glaciers were to continue to crack and break into pieces, their surface area that is exposed to air would be significantly increased, which could lead to accelerated melting and much reduced coverage area on the Earth," he said.
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