Due to increased sea temperatures and climate change, one of Antarctica’s biggest glaciers is melting away.
On Earth, 99% of glacial ice is contained within vast ice sheets (also known as “continental glaciers”) in the polar regions, but glaciers may be found in mountain ranges on every continent other than the Australian mainland. Glaciers form the largest reservoir of freshwater on the planet.
The Thwaites Glacier, also known as the Doomsday Glacier, is an unusually broad and vast Antarctic glacier flowing into Pine Island Bay, part of the Amundsen Sea.
Thwaites Glacier is closely watched for its potential to raise sea levels. Antarctica’s Doomsday Glacier could meet its doom within a few years according to research.
Researchers warned at a virtual press briefing at the annual meeting of American Geophysical Union (AGU) that the glaciers’ rapid deterioration could end with the ice shelf’s complete collapse in just a few years.
Spanning about 80 miles (120 kilometers) and extending to a depth of about 2,600 to 3,900 feet (800 to 1,200 meters) at its grounding line, Thwaites glacier in western Antarctica is the widest glacier on Earth.
Thwaites is sometimes referred to as the “Doomsday Glacier,” as its collapse could trigger a cascade of glacial collapse in Antarctica, and the latest research from the frozen continent suggests that doomsday may be coming for the dwindling glacier even sooner than expected.
Due to the human-induced climate change and increased warming in Earth’s atmosphere and oceans, observations of the Thwaites Glacier show that the glacier is changing more drastically than any other ice and ocean system in Antarctica in the past decade.
Thwaites Glacier is likely to collapse within a decade from 2021, leading to increased outflow and contribution to sea-level rise. Scientists believe that melting of Thwaites, might cause a lot of difficulties for the coastal communities.