The Doomsday Glacier is melting: Scientists predict that the loss of an Antarctica glacier the size of Florida would result in a 10-foot rise in sea levels worldwide. It’s melting quickly already, and geologists predict that in the years to come, the rate of collapse will only grow. Many of the largest cities across the world, including Shanghai, New York, Miami, Tokyo, and Mumbai, would be submerged by a rise in sea level of several metres. Additionally, it would completely engulf low-lying island nations like Kiribati, Tuvalu, and the Maldives as well as vast tracts of land in coastal areas.
What is the ‘Doomsday Glacier’?
The Thwaites Glacier, which is 80 miles wide, is the largest on Earth. But as the world warms further, its ice is melting, much like the sea ice near the poles. Scientists have been concerned about the glacier’s fast deteriorating condition.
Since, it would lead to more water in Earth’s oceans, significantly increasing sea levels. According to geologists, the glacier’s total liquidation might result in a rise in sea levels of between 3 and 10 feet (0.9 and 3 metres), giving rise to its foreboding moniker “spine-chilling” ramifications.
According to the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, the vast frozen mass is retreating twice as quickly as it was 30 years ago and is losing about 50 billion tonnes (45 billion metric tonnes) of ice annually as a result of climate change.
A University of Washington study, used computer models and satellite observations in 2014, that the Thwaites Glacier will gradually melt over the next 200 to 1,000 years, causing an irreversible collapse. However, the Thwaites Ice Shelf, which currently confines the Thwaites Glacier’s eastern portion, may begin to break down as soon as within five years, which would cause the eastern portion’s contribution to sea level rise to rise and eventually equal that of the other, undefended regions of the glacier. Scientists predict that the ice shelf that sits on the ocean and confines the eastern portion of the Thwaites Glacier, rather than the entire glacier, will melt away within five years.
Why are glaciers melting?
Numerous glaciers all across the world have been quickly melting since the turn of the 20th century. This phenomenon is primarily the result of human activity. Near particular, since the industrial revolution, emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide have increased temperatures, even more in the poles, and as a result, glaciers are rapidly melting, calving off into the sea, and retreating on land. More than a third of the existing glaciers on the planet will disappear before the year 2100, even if emissions are drastically reduced in the ensuing decades. 95% of the thickest and oldest sea ice in the Arctic has already disappeared. Scientists predict that the Arctic might be ice-free in the summer as soon as the year 2100 if emissions rise uncontrolled.