The Thwaites Glacier on Antarctica is considered a danger at the moment because it is extremely unstable. However, it appears that scientists have even worse news for us. Researchers discovered that there is a huge cavity underwater and it can represent a huge risk.
The cavity can speed up the melting process. Its size is bigger than we could imagine. It is around 1000 feet tall and it represents about two-thirds of the area of Manhattan. The size of the cavity was published in a study which was realised by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Meanwhile, the Thwaites Glacier is about the size of Florida. According to researchers, if the iceberg would melt it would manage to raise the ocean levels by more than two feet all over the world. That is the reason why it is considered a risk.
When it comes to the cavity, researchers explain that its size would have fit 14 billion tons of ice. The ice supposedly melted in three years. The Thwaites Glacier is considered responsible for about 4% of the rising sea levels of the world.
“This is the ocean eating away at the ice,” explained Eric Rignot, an author of the study and a professor of Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine. “It’s a direct impact of climate change on the glacier.”
That area is considered especially dangerous, since the ice there melted at a rate of more than 650 feet per year between 2014 and 2017, which is a lot, according to Professor Rignot. It appears that scientists still have a lot to discover. However, they now have better tools for identifying the physical properties under the ice. More than that it has become increasingly urgent to learn as much as possible.
Patrick Supernaw is the lead editor for Great Lakes Ledger. Patrick has written for many publications including The Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Patrick is based in Ottawa and covers issues affecting his city. In addition to his severe hockey addiction, Pat also enjoys kayaking and can often be found paddling the Rideau Canal. Contact Pat here