The Thwaites Glacier from West Antarctica has about 182,000 square km. This is approximatively as big as Florida. The glacier was called to be the “world’s most dangerous glacier”, due to the fact that it has just enough ice to raise all the oceans of the world with more than 65 cm. Also, this glacier stops the other ice sheets that have the potential to raise the sea levels with about 2.5m – that, if all the ice is lost.
NASA has recently revealed the existence of an unknown yawning cavity, that’s placed at the bottom of the Thwaites Glacier.
Heat and water under the glacier mean that it will melt faster
The cavity is 300m tall and is growing fast. NASA has found disturbing things about the state of the glacier. They expected to find holes between the ice and the bottom of Thwaites, but the size and the fact that it grows so fast is what actually shocked them. The cavity is big enough to contain 14 billion tons of ice, and most of it melted in the last three years.
Eric Rignot, who’s a researcher at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory said that they have expected this to happen to Thwaites for years and that, thanks to the new gen of satellites, they’re not able to see all the details they need.
They found some things: the Antarctic glaciers’ undersides need to be calculated more, to see how fast the global sea levels could rise when it comes to climate change. The cavity was revealed by NASA’s radar, that studied the connections between the global climate and the polar regions. They’ve also used data from a constellation of Italian and German radars.
The Thwaites Glacier is that one glacier that’s responsible for 4% of global sea level rise.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.