Scientists call it the apocalyptic glacier.
This is partly because Thwaites, a British-sized glacier in western Antarctica, is melting at an alarming rate. It is retreating about half a mile (2,625 feet) each year. Scientists estimate that glaciers will lose all ice in about 200 to 600 years. At that time About 1.6-2 feet above sea level (0.5 meters).
However, the sea level rise will not stop there. Thwaites’ nickname mostly comes from what will happen after it melts.
Now glaciers act as a buffer between warming seas and other glaciers. Its collapse could cause blocks of adjacent ice to fall together in western Antarctica. Incidentally, this process will raise sea level almost 10 feet and permanently flood many coastal areas, including parts of New York City, Miami, and the Netherlands.
“It’s a big change in the shoreline,” said David Holland, professor of atmospheric science at New York University contributing research to the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration. I told PBS NewsHour in February.
This moth, two new studies, added detail to the amazing picture. Research published last week in the journal Low temperature winding found Warm currents can eat up the lower abdomen of Thwaites Glacier.
Meanwhile, according to a study published on Monday Used satellite imagery It shows that Thwaites and parts of its neighbor Pine Island Glacier are breaking faster than previously thought. That work Newsletter of the National Academy of Sciences.
The image below shows what is happening to Thwaites and nearby glaciers, along with what may happen in the future.
The melting of Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers already accounts for about 5% of global sea level rise.
Above: Satellite images between October 2014 and May 2019 show massive damage to Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers.
It’s not just Thwaites: the Antarctic Ice Sheet Melting 6 times faster It is losing 225 billion tons per year from 40 billion tons per year 40 years before the 1980s.
When the entire Antarctic ice sheet melts, scientists estimate sea level 200 feet rise (60 meters).
Post-war images taken from space show the Thwaites glacier melting into the sea.
“What the satellite shows us is a glacier that splits at the seam,” said Ted Scambos, senior scientist at the University of Colorado. I told NASA in February.
New research suggests that this rapid melting part is due to the breakdown of the natural buffers that keep Thwaites and Pine Glaciers in place.
Above: Crevasses near the ground line of the Antarctic Pine Island glacier.
Crevasses, such as the Pine Island Glacier image above, form near the shear edge of the glacier. This is where the ice from the fast moving glacier meets the slow moving ice or rocks.
new PNAS Research We found that the shear margins of Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers weakened and shattered, allowing ice to flow into the sea.
Thwaites Glacier’s upcoming loss was so worrisome that the United States and the United Kingdom created international institutions to study it.
That organization, International Thwaites Glacier Cooperation, Study glaciers through icebreakers that can break through thick ice sheets.
In February, researchers found a hole about the size of Manhattan on the underside of Thwaites.
Above: An almost 1,000-foot-high hole grows in the bottom of the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica.
Cavity, NASA scientists In 2019, the use of ice penetration radar could store 14 billion tons of ice.
The diagram below shows how warm underwater currents move below the glacier and slowly melt from bottom to top.
Above: A 3D diagram of the Thwaites glacier, showing the submarine waterways that can melt by carrying warm water to the underside of the glacier.
When the ice sheet melts from below They can lose structure, As Thwaites do, they melt faster and break down into the ocean.
Researchers have calculated that the Pine Island glaciers have lost an area the size of Los Angeles over the past six years.
“This is the first sign that the Pine Island ice shelves are disappearing,” says satellite expert and lead author Stef Lhermitte. PNAS Research, said Washington post.
“This damage is difficult to heal.”
According to a 2018 report, sea level rise could affect 800 million people by 2050.
Above: A projection of what the sea level in New York City would look like when the sea level rises 10 feet.
The report is C40 urban climate network, It has been found that rising sea levels threaten the supply of electricity to 470 million people and can regularly expose 1.6 billion people to extreme high temperatures.
This article was originally published by the publisher Business insider.
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