Thwaites Glacier, nicknamed the “Doomsday” glacier, has been losing ice in more than 5,500 years, raising concerns about the future of the Florida-sized glacier and global sea level rise, according to a new study.
The glacier has become the focus of a long list of natural features threatened by warm climates, thus the nickname it was given when in January 2020 it was announced that the warmer bottom of a 74,000-square-mile glacier located in West Antarctica Water was present. ,
A study published Thursday in the journal Nature Geoscience sheds light on new threats facing glaciers.
The researchers reached their conclusion by analyzing prehistoric seashell and penguin bones on Arctic beaches through radiocarbon dating. These fossils, which were more than 5,000 years old, were also around a time when the Earth was much warmer than it is today, even with rising global temperatures. Through this process, researchers can find out when these beaches rose and the local sea level around them.
The results showed that the glacier began to lose ice at a steady pace in that time frame, about 5,000 years ago., with an increase of 0.14 inches per year in local sea level. However, over the past 30 years, this rate has increased to 1.57 inches per year, a rate not observed in 5,500 years.
“These currently increased rates of ice melting may indicate that those critical arteries from the heart of the[West Antarctic Ice Sheet]have ruptured, accelerating ocean currents that could potentially lead to a warming world in the future. catastrophic for global sea levels,” said co-author Dylan Rood, co-author and faculty of engineering at Imperial College London.
According to the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, the glacier is already contributing to sea-level rise, as the ice clearance in the Amundsen Sea already accounts for about 4% of global sea-level rise.
The loss of ice comes a few months after another group of researchers said there are cracks in the eastern ice shelf holding the “doomsday” glacier, which could result in its collapse over the next three to five years, causing it to collapse. Can come in contact with sea water and move. Final rock break.
fall down: For the first time in human history, the ice shelf in East Antarctica collapsed. It is the size of New York City.
‘Not a good sign’: Temperatures near the South Pole were 70 degrees above average, a disturbing record
Global sea levels could rise by a foot over the next century as a result of the glacier’s eventual demise, scientists at the American Geophysical Union warned in December, threatening several coastal cities around the world.
Researchers are not giving up hope; They said they would be drilling through the glacier to collect the rock beneath it, which could determine whether the accelerated melting could be reversed.
“If it’s too late to stop the bleeding, we need to act now,” Rood said.
Contribution: Doyle Rice, USA Today
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