'World's most risky glacier' could cause catastrophic sea level rise, study warns

Glacial melting in Antarctica may become irreversible

Glacial melting in Antarctica may become irreversible

A ROGUE glacier dubbed "the world's most dangerous" risks melting away completely - sparking a catastrophic global sea level rise. Glacier instability/collapse first starts here.

It's part of the Antarctic ice sheet - a large continental glacier that covers at least 20,000 square miles of land (about the surface area of the United States and Mexico combined).

Just how much ice the Thwaites glacier will shed in the next 50 or 100 years is hard to predict because it depends on a number of variables, such as the unpredictable fluctuations in climate and the need for more data. According to new research, Antarctic ice hides a serious instability which could cause the melting flow to accelerate and flow into the ocean. However, 500 simulations of different scenarios pointed to it losing stability.

Antarctica is reaching a point of no return with the continuing acceleration of glacial melting. They need more data to drive accurate conclusions.

If and when the glacier becomes unstable, the after-effects can be considered "catastrophic".

He said: "If you trigger this instability, you don't need to continue to force the ice sheet by cranking up temperatures. It will keep going by itself, and that's the worry", said Alex Robel, who led the study and is an assistant professor in Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Climate variations will nonetheless be necessary after that tipping level as a result of they may decide how fast the ice will move.

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The ice giant is heading towards a doomsday "instability" which once crossed means it could all float out into the sea and melt within 150 years, the NASA-funded study found. Sea level rise linked to warming has already been linked with increased coastal flooding and storm surges. The findings are particularly worrying as the success of current efforts to proof cities and installations against sea level rise are wholly dependent on having accurate predictions. At some point, its destruction and the increase in sea level of 50 centimeters will become irreversible, which poses a global threat to humanity.

A massive cavity that is two-thirds the size of Manhattan and almost the height of the Chrysler Building is growing at the bottom of the Thwaites Glacier, one of the world's most unsafe glaciers.

They say the ice chunk acts as a "backstop" that prevents others around it from melting.

The world's 99% of freshwater consists of the co-joint sheets of ice from Greenland and Antarctica, and most of this water is frozen in masses of ice that can be as thick as 10,000 feet. Glaciers whose leading edge "hangs" in the ocean instead of being supported by bedrock are called tidewater glaciers. "Once the ice is past the grounding line and just over the water, it's contributing to sea level because buoyancy is holding it up more than it was", Robel said.

Antarctica is ringed by a skirt of ice sheets and floating ice shelves that create a physical barrier between the ocean and the landlocked ice on the continent. Will this instability kick in this year or in the next 50 years?

Five Antarctic glaciers have doubled their rate of ice loss in the last six years.

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