SCIENTISTS have embarked on a mission to a ‘doomsday glacier’ that could raise sea levels to destructive heights.
Alarming cracks are believed to be forming in the Thwaites Glacier, and experts worry it will collapse and cause sea levels to rise 2 feet – or up to 10 feet if it drags rivers along other tapes.
Thwaites Glacier is one of the largest glaciers in Antarctica and is about the size of Great Britain.
It is sometimes called the ‘Doomsday Glacier’ because its melting would spell disaster for some coastal areas.
A giant ice shelf hanging from a glacier and out to sea could break up within five years, according to new research.
Scientists claim this could raise sea levels by more than 2 feet.
Based on Related press32 scientists have now begun a $50 million mission to the glacier to learn more about its potentially dangerous impact.
The research team includes researchers from the UK and the US.
They will spend more than two months on an American research ship.
Part of the mission involved sending two robotic ships down the Thwaites Glacier and measuring things like ice thickness and water temperature.
Glaciers now dump 50 billion tons of ice into the sea every year.
If it melted completely, it could raise sea levels by more than 2 feet within the next 100 years.
There are also concerns that sea levels could rise as much as 10 feet if the ice shelf drags on surrounding glaciers.
A 10-foot rise in sea levels can cause flooding in many coastal towns.
The alarming findings were recently presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union by scientists from the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration.
The scientists are part of a group of nearly 100 researchers funded by the US and UK.
Professor Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the Collaborative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) stated before: “The entire glacier holds enough water to raise the sea level by more than two feet (60cm).
“And it could lead to even higher sea levels, up to 10 feet (three metres), if it drags on surrounding glaciers.”
Some ice from glaciers melts naturally and flows into the sea.
The ice shelf on the Thwaites Glacier is important because it slows the flow of this ice out of Antarctica.
If this shelf collapses, much of the ice will drift away and sea levels could rise rapidly.
The ice shelf is believed to be cracking at the top, and the ocean’s warmer waters are believed to be melting it from below.
Satellite data has shown that the cracks could mark the end of the ice shelf within five years.
While flood simulations suggest this would be catastrophic, keep in mind that they do not take into account any flood prevention measures that may be taken or efforts to prevent the ice shelf from collapsing.
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https://www.the-sun.com/lifestyle/tech-old/4270701/doomsday-glacier-thwaites-mission-melting-sea-level-rise/ Mission to ‘Doomsday’ glacier underway as experts investigate why it melted