Climate change is real and from the looks of it inevitable. And we are witnessing the implications of it, each day. The world’s glaciers are melting rapidly and it is quite alarming. This month, Scientists announced that a glacier in Antarctica is melting at a faster rate than expected. According to People Magazine, the Thwaites Glacier which is about the size of Florida is melting rapidly.
Thwaites accounts for about 5% of Antarctica’s contribution to global sea level rise. It is also known as the Apocalypse or Doomsday Glacier due to its high risk of affecting international sea levels.
Thwaites Glacier Is Melting At Twice Its Speed
A team of scientists have published a study in Nature Geoscience which states that the Thwaites Glacier has retreated 1.3 miles per year, with a higher rate of melting occurring over the past six months. According to the study, this is twice as high the rate scientists have observed over the past decade.
In 2020, a team of scientists discovered that warm water flowing underneath glaciers is the reason behind its collapse. Then, in 2021, new research showed that the Thwaites ice shelf, which helps stabilize the glacier, can collapse within the next five years.
In a report by NDTV the co-author of the study, Robert Larter stated how Thwaites Glacier is holding by its fingernails. He even adds that we should expect to see huge changes over smaller time scales.
What Will Happen If Thwaites Disintegrates?
The new research has warned us about the rapid disintegration of one of the world’s largest glaciers. In a report published in 2020, Thwaites International Glacier Collaboration said that if the “doomsday glacier” completely melts away, it would lead to a 4% sea-level rise. They also claimed that a sudden collapse would raise sea level by 25 inches. In addition, the rapid collapse of glaciers would raise sea level by 10 feet. All this, in turn, would jeopardise the existence of life.
Through a web application developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) people can see what the collapse of the Thwaites Glacier looks like. The application depicts that the collapse of Thwaites has the potential to destroy southern Louisiana and Mississippi. Los Angeles and New York would also be impacted.