Scientists have discovered record warm water beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier" for the first time, leading to concerns for the glacier whose collapse could contribute nearly a meter (approximately 3 feet) to global sea level rise.
The findings are part of the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration — a UK and U.S.-led research expedition to better understand how quickly the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica might collapse. On Jan. 8 and 9, researchers drilled a bore hole through the ice, then measured the waters beneath for the first time on Jan. 10 and 11, according to New York University (NYU). They recorded temperatures more than two degrees Celsius above freezing.
The Thwaites Glacier has been called the "doomsday" glacier and the "most important" glacier in the world. The glacier, roughly the size of Britain or Florida, already contributes four percent a year to global sea level rise. Not only that, it acts as a stop on the rest of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which could raise sea levels by more than three meters (approximately 10 feet).
If these waters are causing glacier melt in Antarctica, resulting changes in sea level would be felt in more inhabited parts of the world. The fact that such warm water was just now recorded along a section of Thwaites grounding zone where we have known the glacier is melting suggests that it may be undergoing an unstoppable retreat that has huge implications for global sea level rise. (source: EcoWatch)
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