Glacier the Size of Florida Is Collapsing, Potential Global Sea Level Rise

Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is the size of Florida. If it melts, it will raise sea level by two feet and it is in the early stages of collapse. More importantly, Thwaites stands in the way of four other glaciers that hold more than 10 feet of additional sea level rise.

According to researchers at the University of Washington, Thwaites is already collapsing. Simulations from years ago showed that the glacier was already in the early stages of collapse. As Thwaites Glacier collapses, most of West Antarctica will go with it. The loss of West Antarctica is unstoppable.

The Thwaites Glacier is the linchpin for the rest of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Its rapid collapse will spill over to other areas, undermining much of West Antarctica.

NASA revealed in January a massive cavity carved in the underbelly of the glacier due to warm ocean water, raising alarm of potential near term collapse and disintegration of the ice shelf. The cavity once held fourteen billion tons of ice. This decay has all happened in the last three years.

 

 

Photo: “Thwaits Glacier” by NASA is in the Public Domain

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