Scientist Exclaim Glaciers Are Melting Much Faster Than It Was Expected

  • Scientist Exclaim Glaciers Are Melting Much Faster Than It Was Expected

Scientist Exclaim Glaciers Are Melting Much Faster Than It Was Expected

Thwaites Glacier is a part of the South Pole ice glacier in West Antarctica, where scientists' exploration determined that it is melting many times faster than expected.

Using a robotic submarine, researchers have taken the very first photos of the foundations of the Antarctic Thwaites Glacier, a step towards better monitoring of the ice sheet, which is notorious for its contributions to rising sea levels.

A special point of interest, visited by the robotic submarine, called Icefin, is a boundary called the grounding line between where the glacier rests on the ocean floor and where it floats over water.

Under this project, Icefin traveled around 15 km during five expeditions. Scientists check with Thwaites because of the "doomsday glacier" because of the dire implications its fast melting might have for the planet.

After lowering Icefin almost half a mile down the drilled hole, scientists remotely guided the long, cylindrical, yellow robot over a mile to the grounding zone, where relatively warm waters are eating away at Thwaites' bottom.

Icefin is created to take several measurements, including tracking the turbulence of the water as well as its temperature. This is where the massive glacier melting and destabilization can occur.

Turbulence causes fresh meltwater from the glacier to mix with salty water from the ocean.

Dr Britney Schmidt, a glaciologist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said: 'We saw awesome ice interactions driven by sediments at the [grounding] line and from the rapid melting from warm ocean water'. In the video above, you can glimpse Thwaites' icy ceiling through the murky water as fish dash by the camera.

The ITGC aims at understanding the glacier dynamics in the coming years.

Sea level rise would be drastic, up to around 25 inches (63.5cm), and the reach of the ripple-effect would be vast.

Icefin than swam more than a mile from the drill site to the Thwaites grounding zone to measure, image, and map the melting and gather data that can be used to understand the landscape and conditions.

As per the scientists, the glacier is melting at an increasingly fast rate and the Georgia Tech reported that it has already accounted for about four percent of global sea-level rise, which is very unsafe for the coastal regions. 'This is the first time anyone has done this or ever seen the grounding zone of major glaciers under water. This is known to be an unstable configuration for a glacier because as the ocean continues to eat away at its base, the glacier becomes thicker, so more ice is exposed to the ocean. "This new data will provide a new perspective of the processes taking place, so we can predict future change with more certainty".