One of the biggest glaciers in the world is affected by global warming, and the phenomenon has attracted the attention of researchers from all over the world.
Back in January NASA researchers discovered that a giant void appeared at the base of the Thwaites Glacier. According to official estimation, the cavity is on par with up to 66% of the size of Manhattan and the ice continues to melt at an accelerated rate. Over 14 billion tons of ice disappeared in the last three years.
The glacier was already under supervision as the speed at which the ice is melting and how it could influence the global sea level were quite interesting for researchers. A natural question appears: what would happen if the glacier melted completely?
Some researchers believe that it would be able to affect the entire region of West Antarctica. The glacier is currently located in West Antarctica, and its size is on par with the state of Florida. At this point, the water coming from Thwaites has contributed to the rise of the global seas level by 4%. A major question is posed by how the ice can leave West Antarctica and reach the ocean.
Studying the glaciers is quite a challenge since the glacier is far away from most bases and the weather is very harsh in the area. The grounding line of the glacier, or the point where the ice reaches the land, has become increasingly thinner as years passed, losing over nine miles in twenty years. The process is accelerated by warm water that comes lifts the ice and speeds up the melting process. The glacier is currently held in place by a ridge that could melt in the future.
If the entire glacier melts, the ocean levels could grow by two feet. It remains to be seen if the researchers will be able to collect valuable information after the glacier surveyed.
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