Home / News / World /  ‘Doomsday’ glacier is melting in Antarctica, and it’s bad news

New surveys have revealed that Thwaites Glacier, which is also known as the "doomsday glacier", is on the verge of collapse. The collapse of the glacier, which is around the size of Gujarat, could lead to a catastrophic rise in global sea levels, without any contribution from Greenland or the Himalayas.

The researchers from the British Antarctic Survey have published their findings in the journal Nature, which show that warm water is reaching into the glacier's cracks and crevices more than half a kilometre below its surface, creating new canyons at a rate of 43 metres each year.

The study indicates that the glacier is being eaten away from below, causing it to weaken rapidly and become more prone to fracture. Although scientists are uncertain when the collapse will occur, they predict that it will cause sea levels to rise by about 65 cm within 100 years.

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The real concern is that Thwaites Glacier acts as a natural dam to vast lakes of ice behind it, and if it collapses, these ice lakes will slip down continental Antarctica's gentle slopes and into the sea, causing an additional 3-metre rise in sea levels.

A 3-metre rise in sea levels would have a significant impact on low-lying areas and coastal cities worldwide. Some of the countries that would be particularly vulnerable to this include Bangladesh, the Maldives, the Netherlands and parts of the United States such as Florida and Louisiana. However, the effects would not be limited to these areas and would be felt globally.

Robert Larter, a British Antarctic Survey marine geophysicist, warns that Thwaites Glacier is "really holding on today by its fingernails", and significant changes are expected to occur over small timescales in the future, reported news.com.au.

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Although there are no accurate estimates of when the glacier will collapse, some scientists suggest it could happen anytime between the next five and 500 years.

A previous 2021 study indicated that Thwaites Glacier is clinging on "by its fingernails" as the world heats, with the possibility of a dramatic retreat in the coming years, including the potential for the ice shelf to break within the next five years.

This highlights the urgent need for global action to combat climate change and prevent catastrophic consequences like those that may result from the collapse of Thwaites Glacier.

Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and social media. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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