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If this glacier breaks, West Antarctica will lose a lot of ice


Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica. If these glaciers break loose and melt into the oceans, it could have an impact on the loss of the ice sheet in West Antarctica.

Nationalgeographic.co.id – Scientists have reported that the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica, the size of the province of East Kalimantan, is melting rapidly. That melting was followed by their alarming finding of cracks at the foot of the fragile glacier and could account for about four percent of global sea level rise.

Scientists report in American Geophysical Union (AGU) at the meeting December 16, 2021. Slowly, the glacier’s ice slides to the edge of the ice and expands 45 kilometers in the sea. Meanwhile, the existing layer forms a new crack that was detected on the surface and the bottom which is expected to break in about five years.

Then it is exacerbated by the process of weakening the ice sheet from the warmer seawater below the layer. Scientists have detected this passage via robotic submarines. Thwaiter glacier will melt on mainland Antarctica after being warmed by water reported April 9, 2021 in the journal Oceanography.

Erin Pettit of Oregon State University and lead author of a paper at the forum said there was an acceleration of ice movement along the fracture based on satellite observations. According to him, the results of these observations and fractures are very dramatic because they will cause a series of diagonal faults that almost reach the entire ice shelf.

The ice shelf was like a windshield with a series of cracks slowly opening, he said. “It was like, I had to buy a new windshield. And one day, bang!—there were a million other cracks in there,” Pettit continued.

They continued, if the ice sheet broke then most of the glaciers that are currently stuck will likely move faster. Worst case, this part of Thwaites could be three times as fast to increase the contribution of glaciers to global sea levels in the short term to five percent, Pettit added.

Also Read: Unexpected Life Found Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet

Launch Science, glaciation expert at the University of Massachusetts Robert DeConto sees this thawing could lead to the disappearance of the entire ice sheet in Western Antarctica, then result in 3.3 meters of global sea level rise.

“It will be a global change,” he said. “Our coastline will look different from space.” The seawater is too warm for this ice sheet so “this sea-based ice won’t come back”

Expeditions International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC) has been observing the glacier for 70 years by scientists sponsored by the United States and Britain. In 2019, they set up a makeshift camp in the middle of an ice sheet that is 300 meters thick.


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