The Doomsday Glacier Is Melting Faster Than Thought

The Thwaites Glacier is an Antarctic Glacier that flows from the western side of Antartica into the Pine Island Bay that is part of the Amundsen Sea. It’s called the Doomsday Glacier because, along with the Pine Island Glacier, it is thought to have significant potential to raise global sea level – a 2020 study predicted a rise of three feet.  Research by the University of Washington in 2014 predicted collapse over the next 200 to 1,000 years.

However, a 2019 survey by an unmanned submarine found of waters beneath the glacier’s float shelf found that there’s more warm water under the glacier than previously thought. In particular, warm water near the pinning points – areas that hold the glacier to the bedrock – may cause more rapid collapse of the ice shelf. What is particularly concerning is the collapse of the Thwaites Ice Shelf could lead to the collapse of the nearby Pine Island Glacier. Together, the collapse of these two ice shelves could allow the land ice of Antarctica to flow into the oceans, raising global sea level as much as ten feet. That event would overwhelm most coastal cities.

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Author: Tom

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