As experts examine why the glacier is melting, they are on a Mission to “Doomsday”

SCIENTISTS have set out on a mission towards a ‘Doomsday’ glacier that could rise sea levels to catastrophic heights.

Thwaites Glacier experts fear that alarming cracks may be developing. They are concerned about the possibility of it collapsing, causing an increase in sea level by two feet or even ten feet if it drags with it.


This is what a ten-foot sea rise could look in New York, if flood defences weren’t put in placeCredit: Flood Fire tree
A ten foot sea level rise without defences would also cause major issues for London


London’s major problem would also be caused by a ten foot sea-level rise without defensesCredit: Flood Fire tree

Thwaites Glacier is the largest glacier in Antarctica. It is roughly the size of Great Britain.

It is often called a ‘Doomsday Glacier’ as its melting could spell disaster for certain coastal areas.

New research suggests that a huge ice shelf hanging from the glacier could be dissolved within five years.

Scientists say this could cause sea levels to rise by up to two feet.

According to The Associated Press32 scientists are now on a $50 million mission towards the glacier in order to learn more about its potential dangerous effects.

Researchers from the US and UK are part of the team.

They will spend over two months onboard an American research boat.

The mission includes sending two robot vessels below Thwaites Glacier, and measuring things such as water temperature and ice thickness.

The sea currently receives 50 billion tonnes of ice from the glacier every year.

If the ice melts completely, it could cause sea level rises of more than two feet over the next 100 years.

Sea levels may rise up to ten feet if the surrounding glaciers are pulled with the ice shelf.

A lot of coastal communities could be affected by a ten foot sea level rise.

The alarming findings were recently presented at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting by scientists from International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration.

These scientists are part of an almost 100-strong group of researchers that have been funded by the UK and the US.

Ted Scambos (Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, CIRES), is a senior research scientist. As stated previously: “The entire glacier holds enough water to raise the sea level by more than two feet (60cm)

“And it could lead to even more sea level rise, up to 10 feet (three meters), if it draws the surrounding glaciers with it.”

Some glacier ice does melt naturally and flow into the ocean.

Thwaites glacier has an ice shelf that slows the flow of ice off Antartica.

The sea level could rise rapidly if more ice were to fall from the shelf.

According to some reports, the ice shelf is cracking at its top while warmer oceans are melting it below.

Satellite data suggests that cracks could signal the end of the ice shelf in five years.

While flooding simulations suggest this would be devastating, they don’t account for flood defenses that could be in place or attempts at stopping the ice shelf crashing.

The ice shelf is cracking on top and melting from beneath


The ice shelf cracks on the top and melts from belowCredit: AGU
How Antarctica’s “Doomsay Glacier” could collapse and send sea levels skyrocketing

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