The ice shelf that protects the world’s largest glacier from the sea could disappear in the next five years, warned a group of international experts at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting, held in the city of New Orleans.
The glaciar Thwaites reaches a width of 120 kilometers and it is located in the western part of Antarctica.
In a study led by glaciologist Erinn C. Pettit of Oregon State University (USA), conducted between 2016 and 2021, it was determined that the total collapse of the platform that supports the ‘Doomsday glacier’ could contribute to the sea level rise in the region by up to 25 %, that is to say about 65 centimeters, because the ice in this region will flow three times faster into the ocean, so it could destabilize other Antarctic glaciers.
Fun team effort of a press conference! Thanks all! https://t.co/2mV5JZDMB2
— Anna Crawford (@crawfisha) December 14, 2021
In agreement With Ted Scambos, a scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Environmental Science Research in Boulder, Colorado, the current melting of this glacier contributes up to 4% to global sea level rise.
For this reason it is considered important to carry out experiments ‘in situ’, in order to intensively study the behavior of this glacier and predict its future in the short term.
The ice shelf holding back Antarctica’s Thwaites glacier, riven by newly detected fissures on its surface and underside, is likely to break apart in the next 5 years or so, scientists reported yesterday at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union. https://t.co/w1y1ySYB6jpic.twitter.com/S5jwCqDTf8
— Kees van der Leun (@Sustainable2050) December 15, 2021
Among the causes that originate this phenomenon is the heating of the Amundsen sea water, which circulates under the ice shelf, causing its eventual melting, turning the main body of the glacier into a floating object, causing the parts to fall into the sea.
In 2018, a group of American and British scientists began the study of the ocean and its marine sediments in order to measure the currents that flow into the deep ice of the glacier to analyze the causes that originate the fracturing process.
What scientists are projecting will happen to the Thwaites Glacier in the next three to five years should be front page news everywhere today. Short thread. pic.twitter.com/lU4syY01bt
— Philip Boucher-Hayes (@boucherhayes) December 15, 2021
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