New study finds Thwaites ‘Doomsday’ glacier ‘hanging on its nails’

Thwaites Glacier is in poor condition. Photo: NASA/OIB/Jeremy Harbeck

Thwaites Glacier, A slab of ice the size of Florida in Antarctica, attached to the skin of his teeth. If it collapsed completely, researchers believe it could raise global sea level by as much as 10 feet.

Known as the “Doomsday Glacier” due to the fallout from his loss, Thwaites is the largest in the world. It is 80 miles wide, and it was Focus on worrying for years.

In 2019, NASA released a report detailing a large cavity that appeared at the bottom of the Thwaites Glacier. About two-thirds the size of Manhattan and about 1,000 feet high, it was a harbinger of the glacier’s possible fate.

Thwaites Glacier is no ordinary glacier. It contains enough ice to raise sea levels around the world by nearly three feet. It also serves as a buttress to the glaciers behind, which, if slipped into the sea, would raise the ocean water by about eight feet.

And things seem to be getting worse. As the planet continues to warm, Thwaites is in dire straits—and so are we. Which is why researchers continue to monitor it closely. in New study Posted in natural earth sciences On Monday, the latest results from those eyes found that things are likely to get worse.

“Thwaites is really sticking to her fingernails today,” said study co-author Robert Larter and marine geophysicist at the British Antarctic Marine Survey, Robert Larter, in a press release. “We should expect to see large changes on small time scales in the future – even from year to year – once the glacier retreats beyond a shallow ledge at its bottom.”

Scientists have found that the glacier’s most recent receding rate is actually slower than it has been in the past few years. While on his face that might sound like a good thing, it’s actually a bad sign.

“Our results indicate pulses of very rapid retreat in the Thwaites glacier in the past two centuries, and possibly as recently as the mid-20th century,” said lead author Alistair Graham, of the University of South Florida’s School of Marine Sciences.

According to the researchers, as the glacier wanes, the time period before another rapid melting event shortens. The study predicted that another possibility could occur “in the coming decades”.

“Just a small kick for Thwaites can lead to a big response,” Graham said.