The Thwaites glacier towards melting: it could cause global catastrophe

The 'Apocalypse' glacier, is in critical condition, according to a new study by the University of California - Irvine

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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The Thwaites glacier towards melting: it could cause global catastrophe
© Wikimedia Commons

A new study conducted with the help of satellite surveys has revealed that the Thwaites glacier, called the Apocalypse glacier, is in critical condition. So critical that it could generate a global disaster. The team of researchers led by researchers from the University of California - Irvine, has identified the presence of warm, high-pressure seawater beneath Thwaites, which scientists say could lead to some areas of the glacier being at risk of experiencing major melting due warming of ocean waters, dramatically accelerating global sea level rise.

According to one estimate, the total melting of this ice giant could cause the average global ocean level to rise by more than 60 centimeters. Thwaites loses around 50 billion tonnes of ice each year, contributing around 4% of global sea level rise.

Thwaites glacier
Thwaites glacier© Wikimedia Commons
 

Eric Rignot of the University of California and lead author of the study, explained: "There are places where the water has about the same pressure as the ice above it, so all it takes is a little more pressure to push the ice towards the high There is a lot of enthusiasm from the scientific community to visit these remote polar regions to collect data and improve our understanding of what is happening, but the funding is late 2024 we have had the same budget as the 1990s. We need to expand the community of glaciologists and physical oceanographers to address these observational problems as soon as possible, but right now it's like we're climbing Everest in tennis shoes by incorporating this type of ocean-ice interaction into the models on the ice sheets, I expect that we will be able to reproduce much better what has happened over the last quarter of a century, which will increase confidence in our projections."

Thwaites glacier
Thwaites glacier© Wikimedia Commons
 

Christine Dow of the University of Waterloo and co-author of the study explained: "This work will help people adapt to changes in ocean levels, as well as focus on reducing carbon dioxide emissions to avoid worst-case scenarios. The fear is that we are underestimating the speed with which the glacier is changing, which would represent a devastating scenario for coastal communities around the world."