‘World’s most dangerous’ glacier could soon collapse triggering sea level rise

Thwaites glacier in western

Thwaites glacier in western

The Thwaites Glacier, the largest outflow channel of the vulnerable West Antarctic Ice Sheet, now has a enormous subterranean hole.

The collapse of the Thwaites Glacier would cause an increase of global sea level of between one and two metres, with the potential for more than twice that from the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet. It's big enough to have contained 14 billion tons of ice, and most of that ice melted over the last three years. Thwaites has enough ice that if it all melted, global sea levels would rise a little more than two feet. The research has shown that Thwaites Glacier is peeling off from the bedrock beneath it, meaning more of the glacier's base is exposed to warming waters.

Scientists spotted the concealed void thanks to a new generation of satellites, Rignot noted. They used NASA's ice-penetrating radar to get their data.

Scientists say that this is a very important find because the bigger the hole is, the more heat and water can get under the glacier, thereby melting it faster. Hopefully, the upcoming worldwide collaboration will help researchers piece together the different systems at work under and around the glacier, the researchers said. The glacier was called to be the "world's most unsafe glacier", due to the fact that it has just enough ice to raise all the oceans of the world with more than 65 cm.

The melting in Thwaites Glacier, approximately the size of Florida in the United States, contributes four percent of global sea level rise each year.

This would inundate coastal cities like NY, which could probably cope with the changes if they were gradual but would be seriously and potentially mortally damaged if sea levels rose too quickly for engineers to mount a response.

A large hole under an Antarctic glacier is a sign of rapid decay that could lead to dramatic sea level rise, a study says.

"We are discovering different mechanisms of retreat", Millilo said.

The Thwaites glacier is slightly smaller than the total size of the United Kingdom, approximately the same size as the state of Washington, and is located in the Amundsen Sea.

Thwaites Glacier is actually one of the most hard places to reach on the planet. This information is extremely useful to scientists because how quickly a glacier melts depends a great deal on what's going on near that bedrock. In this region, as the tide rises and falls, the grounding line retreats and advances across a zone of about 2 to 3 miles (3 to 5 kilometers).

Milillo told weather.com that the discovery was also surprising because "it highlights that ice-ocean interactions are more complex than previously understood". The scientists have calculated that the melting glacier has already contributed to about 4 percent of the total global sea level rise.

Notícias recomendadas

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.