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In pics | Antarctica’s rapidly melting 'Doomsday Glacier' could rewrite global coastline

What’s ‘Doomsday Glacier’ and why are scientists so worried about it? Here is everything you need to know

September 14, 2022 / 04:56 PM IST
The Thwaites Glacier in Antartica, often referred to as the “Doomsday Glacier,” could melt faster than anticipated, researchers say. A look at what it could mean for the world.
The Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica, often referred to as the Doomsday Glacier, could melt faster than anticipated, researchers have said in a new study. A look at what it could mean for the world.
Thwaites Glacier, nicknamed the “Doomsday Glacier”, is part of the West Antartica Ice Sheet.
Thwaites Glacier, nicknamed the Doomsday Glacier, is part of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet.
Thwaites Glacier Basin measures 1,92,000 km2.
Thwaites Glacier Basin measures 1,92,000 km2.
When we think of glaciers melting, we think of ice heating from above i.e. from sunlight or from the warming atmosphere. However, a lot of melting in the Antartica may also come from below.
When we think of glaciers melting, we think of ice heating from above i.e. from sunlight or from the warming atmosphere. However, a lot of melting in Antarctica may also come from below.
The latest study, published in Nature Geoscience in Sep 2022, suggests that the amount of ice lost from Thwaites Glacier has doubled in the last 30 years, and it is likely to retreat faster than current rates in the coming years.
The latest study, published in Nature Geoscience in Sep 2022, suggests that the amount of ice lost from Thwaites Glacier has doubled in the last 30 years, and it is likely to retreat faster than current rates in the coming years.
“Thwaites is really holding on today by its fingernails, and we should expect to see big changes over small time scales in the future – even from one year to the next – once the glacier retreats beyond a shallow ridge in its bed,” said Robert Larter, Co-author of the study.
“Thwaites is really holding on today by its fingernails, and we should expect to see big changes over small time scales in the future – even from one year to the next – once the glacier retreats beyond a shallow ridge in its bed,” said Robert Larter, Co-author of the study.
Melting of the Thwaites glacier could rewrite the global coastline. According to a 2020 estimate from the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, 4 percent of climate change-caused sea-level rise so far came from Thwaites alone.
Melting of the Thwaites glacier could rewrite the global coastline. According to a 2020 estimate from the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, 4 percent of climate change-caused sea-level rise so far came from Thwaites alone.
The “chain reaction,” beginning with the potential collapse of Thwaites’ Eastern Ice Shelf would set in motion a long-term process which would eventually result in global sea level rise.
The “chain reaction,” beginning with the potential collapse of Thwaites’ Eastern Ice Shelf would set in motion a long-term process which would eventually result in global sea level rise.
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