UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Experts warn of the possibility of the melting and collapse of a glacier described as “the most dangerous in the world”, which could lead to catastrophic rise in sea level.
Now, the Antarctic River Thwaites is approaching a “turning point” that can lead to an icy flow towards the ocean, which can not be stopped.
Once “instability” begins, nothing can prevent the ice from completely melting and potentially submerge some of the lowlands of the coastline, according to a study published in PNAS and supported by NASA, simulating the future ice flow of the Thwaites glacier.
Even if global warming stops later, instability will continue to push ice to the sea “at a very rapid rate” over the next centuries.
“Climate change will remain important after this critical point, because it determines how fast the ice moves,” said Alex Rubel, assistant professor at Georgia Tech, who led the study.
The Arctic ice floats over the water, so when it melts, we do not see a change in sea level.
But Antarctica carries huge amounts of ice on land, often in the form of glaciers, which can introduce fresh water into the sea.
The ice sheet in Antarctica contains about 8 times the amount of ice in the Greenland ice sheet. It contains 50% more ice than all glaciers in the world.
If the Thwaites River becomes truly unstable, it will be devastating.
“After reaching the turning point, the Thwaites could lose all the ice in 150 years, which would make the sea level rise about half a meter,” warned Helen Serusi, a NASA scientist at NASA.
The current sea level is about 20 cm higher than the levels before global warming, and coastal flooding is blamed.
The researchers say annual sea level rise has almost doubled since 1990, and could get worse if the Thwaites glacier melts.
The line between the place where the glacier is located on the bottom of the sea and the place where the water runs is called the grounding line.
“Once the ice exceeds the grounding line and just above the water, it contributes to sea level rise,” he said, “and the ice flows to the floating ice shelf and melts or breaks off like icebergs.”
Earlier this year, NASA added to the recent results by discovering a large vacuum lying beneath the glacier Thwaites. Scientists have warned that the growing hole has already expanded and covers an area of 10,000 football fields.
The giant Thwaites glacier covers 182,000 square kilometers, about half of the United Kingdom. If melted, global sea levels will rise by more than 0.61 meters, causing coastal flooding that displaces hundreds of thousands of people worldwide from their homes.
But the impact of Thwaites on nearby glaciers is what NASA is concerned about, as the huge glacier forms a “support” that prevents other rivers from melting.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.
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