Scientists studying the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica have made alarming discoveries that show that the glacier, nicknamed the Doomsday Glacier, is melting even faster than previously thought. Two papers published in the Nature journal highlight the gravity of the situation, as Thwaites Glacier represents more than half a meter of global sea level rise potential, which could destabilize neighboring glaciers that have the potential to cause a further three-meter rise.
The Thwaites Glacier is one of the largest in Antarctica, and it is melting rapidly due to warm water seeping into its weak spots. The research was conducted by a team of 13 US and British scientists as part of the International Thwaites Glacier collaboration, the largest field campaign ever attempted in Antarctica. The team spent six weeks on the glacier in late 2019 and early 2020, using an underwater robot vehicle called Icefin, mooring data and censors to monitor the glacier’s grounding line.
The grounding line is where the glacier slides off and meets the ocean for the first time. It is also the most important point to monitor when it comes to the glacier’s melting, as it is where the melting begins. In the two papers, scientists found that warm water was seeping into the weakest parts of the glacier, causing sideways melt of 30 meters or more per year. This is an alarming discovery, as it suggests that the glacier is melting much faster than previously thought.
The melting of the Thwaites Glacier is caused by rising temperatures, which are caused by climate change. Climate change is a global problem, and it is affecting even the most remote areas of the world, such as Antarctica. The findings of the research are a cause for concern, as the Thwaites Glacier could be a tipping point for climate change. If the glacier were to melt completely, it could cause a chain reaction that would destabilize the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet, potentially causing a three-meter rise in sea levels.
The Thwaites Glacier is roughly the size of Florida, and it represents a significant threat to the world’s coastal cities. Rising sea levels caused by the melting of the glacier could inundate large areas of land, displacing millions of people. It is, therefore, crucial that scientists continue to study the glacier and develop more accurate climate change models to help predict the future behavior of the glacier.
The research conducted by the team of scientists is significant because it is the first time that a team has been to the grounding line of a major glacier. Previous studies have relied on satellite images to show the behavior of the ice, making it difficult to get granular details. The findings of the research will help scientists to develop more accurate climate change models, which will be vital in predicting the future behavior of the glacier.
The melting of the Thwaites Glacier is a complex process that is affected by many different factors. One of the factors that the researchers studied was the warm water seeping into the glacier’s weak spots. They found that the warm water was making its way into crevasses and other openings known as terraces, causing the sideways melt of 30 meters or more per year. This is a significant discovery, as it suggests that the glacier is melting much faster than previously thought.
The other paper’s findings showed about five meters per year of melt near the glacier’s grounding line, which is less than what the most aggressive thinning models previously predicted. However, the melting is still of grave concern, as it suggests that the glacier is retreating, and this retreat could have significant consequences for the rest of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
The melting of the Thwaites Glacier is a cause for concern, as it could destabilize the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet, potentially causing a three-meter rise in sea levels. The research conducted by the team of scientists is significant