Tuesday , October 26 2021

Thwaites Glacier: NASA finds a giant, dangerous cavern under the ice


WThe Chicken coming from the huge Antarctic glacier you don't want is a piece of ice with an open hole in it. However, this is our reality: On Wednesday, NASA announced that the bottom of the Thwaites Glacier was growing rapidly. While Florida's large dense ice hull is located in one of the most difficult places to reach on Earth, it is global.

NASA described it as "alarming," a cavity of almost 1,000 feet long and about two-thirds of Manhattan's size. The team that found their discovery writes Science Development that cavity size means that it once contained 14 billion tons of ice. Most of this ice may have melted over the last three years, contributing to the planet's total sea level rise. Scientists have already suspected that Thwaites Glacier is responsible for about 4% of the global sea level rise, and now it will probably be blamed for more.

The surface elevation map tracks Thwaites Glacier.

High seas cause greater flood and erosion risks, threatening the people living there and wildlife. When seawater reaches inland waters, it can contaminate agricultural soil and destroy fish, bird and plant habitats. Sea levels have steadily increased in recent centuries and, at the time of glacier melting, their growth rate. Despite its massive cavity, Thwaites Glacier still contains enough ice to increase the world's ocean with just over 2 feet. If its adjacent glaciers melt, the sea level will rise by another 8 feet.

Although they have been suspected for a number of years that Thwaites was not firmly attached to its foundations, this research team has so far been unable to study in detail. The achievements of satellite technology revealed the cavity as well as the fact that the ice rack melted more than it 650 feet per year 2014-2017.

Thwaites Glacier
The hollow is located under the glacier on its western side, further away from the Western Antarctic Peninsula.

NASA reports that the huge cavity is located below the western side of the main frame of the glacier, and the glacier becomes constant from the bedrock with a steady speed of 0.4 to 0.5 miles a year since 1993. Cavity's "extremely high" melting rate, which depends on the size of the cavity: As the glacier gets more heat and water, the sooner it disappears.

Unfortunately, the presence of a newly created cavity also indicates that previous models may have underestimated how quickly Thwaites loses ice. Usually, ice sheets in mathematical models use a fixed form to depict the cavity, but Thwaites cavity dynamics show that scientists need to better understand how these changes and growth take place. Understanding how – and how fast – this glacier disappears will hopefully help us prevent others from doing it before it is too late.

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