‘Doomsday Glacier’ in Antarctica is melting fast and could raise sea levels by 11 feet by the end of the century

With the potential to raise global sea levels, the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica has been widely dubbed the “Doomsday Glacier.”

Now, a study has revealed how quickly the massive glacier is melting — and has warned that it could raise global sea levels up to 11 feet (3.4 meters) over the next several centuries.

Researchers from the University of Maine and the British Antarctic Survey measured the rate of local sea level change, an indirect way of measuring ice loss.

Their measurements indicate that the glacier is retreating at a rate not seen in the past 5,500 years.

Dr Dylan Rudd from Imperial’s Department of Earth Science and Engineering, who was involved in the study, said: ‘Although these vulnerable glaciers have been relatively stable over the past few millennia, their current rate of retreat is accelerating and is already raising global sea level. .

With the ability to raise global sea levels, the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica has been widely nicknamed

With the potential to raise global sea levels, the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica has been widely dubbed the “Doomsday Glacier.”

Researchers from the University of Maine and the British Antarctic Survey measured the rate of local sea level change, an indirect way to measure ice loss.

Researchers from the University of Maine and the British Antarctic Survey measured the rate of local sea level change, an indirect way to measure ice loss.

Doomsday Glacier

The Thwaites Glacier currently covers an area of ​​74,131 square miles (192,000 square kilometers) – roughly the same size as Great Britain.

It is 4,000 meters (13,100 ft) thick and is essential in making projections of global sea level rise.

The glacier retreats in the face of rising ocean temperatures and is thought to be unstable because its interior lies more than 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) below sea level while the bottom of the glacier on the coast is quite shallow.

The collapse of the Thwaites glacier would increase global sea level by between one and two meters (three and six feet), with a potential more than twice that of the entire West Antarctic ice sheet.

Home to the Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has been shrinking over the past few decades amid rising global temperatures.

The Thwaites Glacier currently covers an area of ​​74,131 square miles (192,000 square kilometers) – roughly the same size as Great Britain.

Meanwhile, the Pine Island glacier has an area of ​​62,662 square miles (162,300 square kilometers), roughly the size of Florida.

Together, the couple could create massive rises in global sea level as they melt.

In their new study, the team set out to measure how fast the ice across these two glaciers has been thinning since the mid-Holocene, more than 5,000 years ago.

The team examined seashells and penguin bones on Antarctic beaches, using radiocarbon dating to estimate how long they had been above sea level.

When glaciers sit on the ground, they press against the Earth’s surface.

But when they melt, the land “bounces”, so that what was once a beach is just above sea level.

This explains why this land’s local sea level has fallen, while the water from global melting has caused global sea levels to rise.

The team examined seashells and penguin bones on Antarctic beaches, using radiocarbon dating to estimate how long they had been above sea level.

The team examined seashells and penguin bones on Antarctic beaches, using radiocarbon dating to estimate how long they had been above sea level.

Home to the Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has been shrinking over the past few decades amid rising global temperatures.

Home to the Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has been shrinking over the past few decades amid rising global temperatures.

By pinpointing the age of these beaches from seashells and penguin bones, researchers can tell when the beach appeared, and reconstruct changes in local — or relative — sea level over time.

Their results revealed that over the past 5,500 years, there has been a steady decline in relative sea level, which the researchers say is the result of ice loss just before that time.

The rate of relative sea level decline today is also five times higher than it was 5,500 years ago, according to their measurements.

Overall, the results indicate that glaciers were relatively stable until recently, and that the current rate of retreat has doubled over the past 30 years.

The rate of relative decline in sea level today is five times higher than it was 5,500 years ago, according to their measurements

The rate of relative decline in sea level today is five times higher than it was 5,500 years ago, according to their measurements

“These current high rates of ice melt may indicate that those vital arteries from the WAIS core have ruptured, accelerating the flow into the ocean that could be catastrophic for future global sea level in an increasingly warming world,” said Dr. Rudd.

“Now we urgently need to know if it is too late to stop the bleeding.”

Far from seashells and penguin bones on the shores of Antarctica, researchers believe there may be important clues buried deep in the ice.

In a follow-up study, the team will drill through the glacial ice to collect rocks underneath.

They believe this may contain evidence of whether the current accelerating melt rates are reversible.

Melting snow and ice will have a ‘dramatic impact’ on global sea levels

Global sea levels could rise as much as 10 feet (3 meters) if the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica collapsed.

Sea-level rise threatens cities from Shanghai to London, to lower swaths of Florida or Bangladesh, and to entire countries like the Maldives.

In the UK, for example, an elevation of 6.7 feet (2 metres) or more could put areas such as Hull, Peterborough, Portsmouth, parts of East London and the Thames Estuary at risk of inundation.

The collapse of the glacier, which could begin decades later, could flood major cities such as New York and Sydney.

Parts of New Orleans, Houston and Miami in the southern United States will also be particularly affected.

A 2014 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists looked at 52 indicators of sea level in communities across the United States.

It found that tidal flooding will increase significantly at many East Coast and Gulf locations, based on a conservative estimate of projected sea level increases based on current data.

The results showed that most of these communities will experience a sharp increase in the number and severity of tidal flood events over the coming decades.

By 2030, more than half of the 52 communities studied are expected to experience, on average, at least 24 tidal floods annually in exposed areas, assuming forecasts of moderate sea level rise. Twenty of these communities could experience a tripling or more in tidal flood events.

The mid-Atlantic coast is expected to see some of the largest increases in flood frequency. Places like Annapolis, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. can expect more than 150 tidal floods annually, and several locations in New Jersey can experience 80 or more tidal floods.

In the United Kingdom, a rise of 2 meters (6.5 feet) by 2040 will almost completely submerge large parts of Kent, according to research findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in November 2016.

South Coast regions such as Portsmouth, as well as Cambridge and Peterborough will also be severely affected.

Cities and towns around the Humber Estuary, such as Hull, Scunthorpe and Grimsby will also experience severe flooding.

.