NATURAL EVENTS

Antarctica alert, the doomsday glacier is melting too fast

The melting of glaciers is one of the greatest dangers facing our world in the near future. Indeed, the pouring of immense amounts of fresh water into the ocean, combined with rising ocean levels, could lead to devastating consequences for our world.

Two studies, published in Nature and conducted by scientists of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Cornell University, used the Icefin robot to map the submerged part of Thwaites Glacier, the largest shelf in West Antarctica and called "The doomsday Glacier," with an area of 150 times Rome.

The data collected, unfortunately, do not reveal anything good. In fact, this huge glacier is reportedly melting much faster than expected, and the reason is not high air temperatures.

NASA ICE – Flickr.com
The Glacier Thwaites
Speaking of the melting of the glacier Thwaites, two groups of scientists used the robotic vehicle Icefin to observe the submerged part of the glacier and beyond. The results obtained are not at all encouraging: inside the glacier crevasses, salt water and warm water creep in and speed up the melting. These, in summary, are the conclusions of the research.
Felton Davis – Flickr.com
Studies
These two new studies on the melting glacier Thwaites, which were published in the journal Nature, were conducted by scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Cornell University. The team, led by Peter Davis and Britney Schmidt, as part of the project MELT, which has the United Kingdom and the United States collaborating in the consortium International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration. The ice was sounded with the help of the robot Icefin.
Stuart Rankin – Flickr.com
The glacier's two big problems
The first problem the glacier is facing is global warming, but not the increase in atmospheric temperature, but that of water. In fact, it appears that the ice's waterline has receded by as much as 16 km in the past 30 years, and thus a much larger part of the surface is now exposed to warm salt water. In addition, there is the phenomenon called Tidal pumping: the ice, rising as the tide rises, allows more water to flow beneath it.
James Yungel - Wikipedia.org
Smooth parts and jagged parts dissolve differently
In areas where the ice is flat and smooth, cold water forms a kind of blanket, protecting it from the action of salt water and salt. Where the surfaces are jagged, however, there are more vertical surfaces where warm water can attack the ice, including through lateral incursions.
ANSA foto
Exponential deterioration, and in better than expected condition
One of the worst findings relates to temperatures. In fact, Britney Schmidt, a planetologist and Earth scientist at the Cornell University, explains how the terrible deterioration of Thwaites is occurring under milder conditions than previously estimated by models. The problem then is quite obvious: less climate change is needed to have these effects. If conditions deteriorate further, therefore, the melting of the Doomsday Glacier will be faster than previously estimated.
ANSA foto
What is at risk if the Glacier melts Thwaites
Studies have also speculated, in concrete terms, what would happen if this huge ice mass melted: global sea levels could rise by more than 30 cm. Collapsing, in addition, there would be a risk that this glacier would also drag glaciers in the surrounding area with it, adding an additional three meters to the rise of the seas. It goes without saying that this would be much more than a catastrophe.
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30/05/2024
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