Researchers have made some underwater observations as the doomsday glacier threatens to collapse. And they’re not exactly encouraging.
The Thwaites Glacier, also known as the “Doomsday Glacier,” has been worrying researchers for some time now. The 120-km-wide ice formation is in danger of crumbling into thousands of icebergs that, if melted, would cause the water table to rise sharply.
To better understand the melting mechanism, researchers have sent robots underwater to observe hard-to-reach spots. Unsurprisingly, they weren’t exactly reassured by what they saw.
Observing a glacier from below isn’t easy. Fortunately, scientists: inside Antarctica have access to various tools to conduct their research. These tools include drills and a “torpedo robot” that can penetrate almost inaccessible areas.
In this way, the scientists: inside were able to learn more about the Thwaites Glacier and how it melts. Oceanographer Peter Davis, who studied the glacier, said flatly, “The glacier is still in trouble.”
On the one hand, his team “found that the glacier is still receding rapidly, despite low levels of melt. So it seems that it doesn’t take much to throw a glacier out of balance.” On the other hand, he said the researchers observed crevasses and staircase-like structures underwater where the ice would melt particularly quickly.
The water level rises 70 cm
Researchers are focusing on this glacier because its melting would be catastrophic and irreversible. The “doomsday glacier” is 120 km wide, 600 km long and 3 km deep.
If it were to break into thousands of icebergs, it is estimated that the average water level would rise by 70 cm. This could cause many coastal cities to disappear from the map….
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