The ‘icy apocalypse’ in Antarctica is hanging by a thread!

Thwaites Glacier, also called Glacier at the end of the world It is located in Antarctica. If it melted, it would cause a significant rise in sea levels around the world. To better understand if and when this could happen – in the context of human-caused global warming – researchers studied the history of this glacier. Their conclusions are not reassuring.

Her real name is Thwaites Glacier. in’West AntarcticaIt’s kind of like an elephant in a china shop. In a less poetic way, he is nicknamed “Icy Doomsday”. Understanding , Glacier at the end of the world. or even Glacier at the end of the world. why ? Because it is so huge, it is 120 kilometers wide and 600 kilometers long, so it melting On its own, it could raise the global level of the oceans from one to three metres.

this is ‘Icy from the end of the world», you imagine – like every other glacier on our planet – is starting to melt. Under the influence of anthropogenic global warming. Satellite images show it. Thwaites Glacier is receding and receding. At a pace that seems unwilling to speed up. Trying to understand how Speed And to what extent the phenomenon will continue to appear in the coming years, a An international team of researchers He was first appointed to the highest level Precision The floor Oceanic is located on the edge of the Thwaites Glacier.

Taking advantage of unusual summers, summers lacking sea ice, the researchers studied in particular the hills left by footprints. movements The Glacier at the end of the world. At a depth of 700 meters, they found data that revealed that at some point in history, over the past 200 years, in Duration Six months, the Thwaites Ice Front retreated at a rate of more than 2.1 kilometers per year. This is twice the speed of the satellites that were monitored between 2011 and 2019.

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“Our results indicate that this glacier experienced very rapid stages of retreat. Perhaps as recently as the mid-20se a hundred years”Alistair Graham, a marine geophysicist at the University of South Florida (US), commented in a press release. What sweeps the idea of ​​a file “Maximum pull speed”. He even suggests that the melting process can take place five to ten times faster than we know it today.

” The Thwaites Glacier Now hanging by a thread. Going forward, once it rolls back past a shallow ridge, we should expect to see big changes there on small time scales. Maybe year after year. »

It is the use of a motor vehicle responsible for sensors The images that made mapping possible. For nearly 20 hours, Rann – as scientists affectionately call him – first discovered the front of the Thwaites Glacier. in harsh conditions. To sample seafloor sediments directly and date the observed ridges more accurately, they would therefore have to go back because collapse suddenly from ice pack The subsequent formation of dense sea ice prevented the process.

So the questions remain. But what is certain is that ice peaks Antarctica is not slow to respond to it Global Warming than previously thought. “It seems that another small blow to the Thwaites glacier could lead to disaster.”concludes Alistair Graham.

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