‘Doomsday glacier’ the size of Florida is melting in Antarctica faster than thought

The so-called “doomsday glacier” in Antarctica – given its ominous nickname due to the high risk of collapse and the threat to global sea levels and the economy – has the potential to retreat rapidly within five years.

This is faster than the scientists who first studied the demise of the glacier in the 1970s thought. Study published on MondayAnd, previous results are suggestive.

Officially known as the Thwaites Glacier, the glacier formation, if separated, is capable of raising sea levels by several feet.

“Thwaites is really sticking with its fingernails today, and we should expect to see big changes on small time scales in the future — even from year to year — once the glacier retreats beyond a shallow ledge on its bottom,” said Robert Larter, a marine geophysicist and one of the study’s authors from British Antarctic Survey, in a press release.

why does it matter? The high seas can cost both developed and developing nations in lost lives, lost business and recovery costs. Deloitte analysis shows that inadequate action on climate change and global warming It could cost the US economy alone $14.5 trillion in the next fifty years. The loss on this metric equates to roughly 4% of GDP or $1.5 trillion in 2070 alone.

When sea levels are rising as quickly as they have been, a slight increase can have detrimental effects on coastal habitats in the interior. Rising seas can cause devastating erosion, flooding of wetlands, salt contamination of the aquifer and agricultural soils, and loss of habitat for fish, birds and plants, all of which affect the way we eat and are exposed to disease. National Geographic explains. For example, submerging rivers well inland can become more dangerous for longer if there is no room for them to empty into the oceans.

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In Thwaites’ peer-reviewed report published in Nature Geoscience, scientists map the glacier’s historical retreat, hoping that its past behavior will lead to what the glacier is likely to do in the coming years.

The rapid disintegration of the glacier may have occurred “as recently as the mid-20th century,” Alistair Graham, lead author of the study and a marine geophysicist at the University of South Florida, said in the release.

Read: Good news on climate change? Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has the healthiest coral in 36 years

Thwaites erodes along its underwater base As the planet warms up. So far, a ridge on the sea floor is helping to hold the glacier in place. But a separate study last year showed that the Thwaites ice shelf, which helps stabilize the glacier and prevents the ice from flowing freely into the ocean, It could disintegrate within five years.

The seafloor maps were documented for the study on a 20-hour mission in harsh conditions that covered an underwater area the size of Houston, according to the statement.

The Thwaites Glacier, actually located in West Antarctica, is one of the widest on Earth and larger than the state of Florida. But it’s just a faction of the West Antarctic ice sheet, which contains enough ice to raise sea level by as much as 16 feet, according to NASA.

Like the climate crisis acceleratedThis area has been closely monitored due to its rapid melting and potential for widespread coastal destruction.

In fact, the Thwaites glacier itself has worried scientists for decades. As early as 1973, researchers wondered if it was at risk of collapse. After nearly a decade, they found that because the glacier rests on the sea floor, rather than dry land, warm ocean currents can melt the glacier from below, destabilizing it from below.

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Other sources of sea level rise are under observation.

For example, it appears that the rapidly melting Greenland ice sheet, called “zombie ice,” will eventually raise global sea level by at least 10.6 inches (27 cm), According to a study published late last month.

The forecast is more than double what was previously forecast, according to the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. “

Zombie Ice is still attached to thicker areas of ice but is no longer replenished by parent glaciers that now receive less snow. The authors argue that without regeneration, the exhausted ice will melt due to climate change and will inevitably lead to sea level rise.

“It’s dead ice. It will melt and disappear from the ice sheet,” William Colgan, a glaciologist with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, told The Associated Press. “This ice has been sent into the ocean, no matter what climate (emissions) scenario that We take it now.”

He defends his position that global powers work together not just to mitigate the impact of pollutants

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And other factors that lead to global warming

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But to spend and invest to adapt to the great climate changes on Earth.

This will require a generation-specific level of creativity and commitment, not only from governments, but also from the private sector, The World Economic Forum stressed. The World Economic Forum says the world needs to invest an estimated $5.7 trillion annually in green infrastructure and other adaptation and mitigation efforts.

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