Antarctic glacier on brink of melting causing catastrophic rise in sea levels

  • Antarctic glacier on brink of melting causing catastrophic rise in sea levels

Antarctic glacier on brink of melting causing catastrophic rise in sea levels

Ice flow in such conditions will increase gradually, not wildly, but the instability produced the opposite effect in the simulations. The area of the glacier behind where it cantilevers over the water is eaten away, which can cause the glacier's ice to break off and flow faster out to sea and add to rising sea levels. That ice loss is a part of a broader trend: The complete Antarctic ice sheet is melting nearly 6 times as fast as it did 40 years in the past. Also, Antarctica is an ice leviathan. Within the last decade, that number jumped to a median of 252 billion tons per year.

The worst thing is that this ice loss is part of a broader trend: "The entire Antarctic ice sheet is melting almost six times as fast as it did 40 years ago".

The Thwaites Glacier is often called "one of the world's most risky glaciers" because of its potential contributions to sea level rise.

NASA JPL scientist Helene Seroussi, who worked on the study along with Robel, said that the glacier could lose all of its ice over the next 150 years. "That will make for a sea-level rise of about half a meter (1.64 feet)", Seroussi added within the statement. Study researcher Alex Robel, from the US Georgia Institute of Technology, said that if instability was triggered, the ice sheet may still be lost regardless if global warming stops. "It will keep going by itself, and that's the worry", lead author Alexander Robel said in a release.

The Thwaites Glacier is a large mass of ice born from snow that's been compressed over time.

Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier is now approaching a "tipping point" that would spark an unstoppable flow of ice into the ocean, reports The Sun.

A new study has found that instability in the Antarctic ice could speed up the flow of melted ice into the ocean and cause sea level to rise faster than previously expected.

"(The size of) a cavity under a glacier plays an important role in melting", said NASA scientist Dr Pietro Milillo.

The grounding line is the line between where the ice sheet rests on the seafloor and where it extends over the water.

Instability in Antarctic glaciers is found around the grounding line, where the bedrock underneath the glacier meets the ocean.

Together with Greenland's ice sheet, Antarctica's ice sheet contains more than 99 percent of the world's fresh water.

But as human activity sends more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the oceans absorb 93 percent of the excess heat those gases trap.

The situation is so bad that it could happen even under present-day ice-melting rates. Climate variations will nonetheless be necessary after that tipping level as a result of they may decide how fast the ice will move. But new analysis of the instability embedded in the continent's glaciers suggests large portions of the ice shelf are likely to reach a tipping point, guaranteeing significant levels of melting and sea level rise.

But it's Thwaites' protective effect on neighbouring glaciers that NASA is most anxious about. In the simulations, Thwaites Glacier colossal ice loss kicked in after 600 years, but it could come sooner.

If one goes, they could all go - and that chain-reaction would raise sea levels by an additional 8 feet (2 metres).