Recently a group of scientists have pointed out that the presence of warm water at a vital point beneath the Thwaites glacier is the cause for its melting
- Studies have found the amount of ice flowing out of it has nearly doubled over the past 30 years.
- Presently, Thwaites’s melting already contributes 4% to global sea level rise each year.
- It is estimated that it would collapse into the sea in 200-900 years.
- Thwaites is important for Antarctica as it slows the ice behind it from freely flowing into the ocean. Because of the risk it faces and poses Thwaites is often called the Doomsday Glacier.
- A 2019 study had discovered a fast-growing cavity in the glacier sized roughly two-thirds the area of Manhattan
- The recent study was conducted by researchers from New York University funded by the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, headed by the Natural Environment Research Council of the UK and the National Science Foundation of the US
- The New York University study reported water at just two degrees above freezing point at Thwaites’s “grounding zone” or “grounding line”.
About Thwaites Glacier
- Thwaites Glacier is 120 km wide at its broadest, fast-moving and melting fast over the years. Because of its size (1.9 lakh square km), it contains enough water to raise the world sea level by more than half a metre.
- It is sometimes referred to as the Doomsday Glacier, is an unusually broad and fast Antarctic glacier flowing into the Pine Island Bay, part of the Amundsen Sea, east of Mount Murphy, on the Walgreen Coast of Marie Byrd Land
- It was named by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names after Fredrik T. Thwaites (1883–1961), a glacial geologist, geomorphologist and professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
- Thwaites Glacier is closely watched for its potential to raise sea levels. Along with the Pine Island Glacier, it has been described as part of the “weak underbelly” of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, due to its apparent vulnerability to significant retreat.