A glacier in West Antarctica, referred to as “the world’s most dangerous,” might completely melt away and trigger a rapid and “catastrophic” sea-level rise, new research warns.
The research, published in the scientific journal PNAS, notes that the Thwaites Glacier is at a proverbial “tipping point” that would cause a neverending flow of ice into the world’s oceans.
When you set off this instability, you don’t have to continue to force the ice sheet by cranking up temperatures. It’ll keep going by itself, and that’s the worry,” stated the research’s lead author and Georgia Tech professor Alex Robel, in a statement. Climate variations will nonetheless be necessary after that tipping level as a result of they may decide how fast the ice will move.
NASA JPL scientist Helene Seroussi, who worked on the research together with Robel, mentioned that the glacier could lose all of its ice over the following 150 years. “That will make for a sea-level rise of about half a meter (1.64 feet),” Seroussi added within the statement.
Based on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, sea levels proceed to rise at a rate of about one-eighth of an inch per year.
The Thwaites Glacier is “the largest single source of uncertainty in projections of future sea-level rise,” in keeping with the study’s summary. If it has been to collapse, it will make worst-case situations of speedy sea-level rise more likely in future projections, the review added.
The Antarctic ice sheet has more than 50 instances the quantity of ice than the mountain glaciers in the world mixed, and eight cases as much ice within the Greenland ice sheet, Robel added within the statement.
If and when the glacier becomes unstable, the after-effects can be considered “catastrophic.”