A glacier the size of Florida, originating from the western region of Antarctica, is melting faster than ever.
The situation is dire, in the 1980s, Antarctica losing 40 billion tons of ice annually and in this period, the number skyrocketed to an average of 252 billion tons per year. The portions of ice that detach from the Thwaites Glacier are contributing to 4% of sea-level rise worldwide.
A new report shows that over the last six years, the rate at which five Antarctic glaciers drop ice chunks into the sea has doubled.
No Turning Back From the Meltdown
In the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists have stated that the glacier represents a significant hazard to the future of the sea-level rise and this threat will continue to advance at a point of no return.
“After reaching the tipping point, Thwaites Glacier could lose all of its ice in 150 years,” said Helene Seroussi, NASA scientist and study author. “That would make for a sea-level rise of about half a meter (1.64 feet).”
The Meltdown’s Meaning for Sea Levels
The world’s 99% of freshwater consists of the co-joint sheets of ice from Greenland and Antarctica, and most of this water is frozen in masses of ice that can be as thick as 10,000 feet.
Because of human activity, greenhouse gases are sent into the atmosphere. The warm water and air are causing the ice sheets and glaciers to melt at increasing rates.
Thwaites Glacier could lose all its ice in the next 200 to 600 years, and that would result in a global sea-level increase of about 1.64 feet, says a new study, although another study approximates the rise of the levels to about 2 feet.
As the researchers see it now, Thwaites prevents its neighbors from falling into the ocean. If Thwaites melted completely, the other glaciers would collapse into the sea producing a massive waterflood, this chain-reaction raising the sea-levels by eight more feet.
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.