'Dangerous' Antarctic glacier has massive hole, scientists warn


It's growing at the bottom of Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica, and it's rapidly enabling ice melt above it.

The cavity is located at the bottom of Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica.

For starters, the void is large enough to have once held 15 billion tons (13.6 billion metric tons) of ice, but much of that ice has melted during the past three years, according to NASA.

The Thwaites Glacier, which is about the size of Florida, has been responsible for about 4% of the rise in sea levels so far, still holds enough ice to raise the world ocean a little over 2 feet upon melting. The research has shown that Thwaites Glacier is peeling off from the bedrock beneath it, meaning more of the glacier's base is exposed to warming waters.

The Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica is seen in this undated NASA image. The size and explosive growth rate of the newfound hole, however, surprised them.

Researcher Eric Rignot of the University of California, Irvine said, 'We have suspected for years that Thwaites was not tightly attached to the bedrock beneath it.

"Thanks to a new generation of satellites, we can finally see the detail".

Scientists used a combination of ice-penetrating radar flown on NASA planes and European satellite data to capture what's going on. The specialists likewise utilized information from a star grouping of Italian and German spaceborne manufactured opening radars. "As more heat and water get under the glacier, it melts faster", said Pietro Milillo of JPL.

It is up to 4000 metres and is considered a key in making projections of global sea level rise.

Understanding the unstable glacier is important for future predictions about sea level rise.

NASA reported that Thwaites Glacier is now responsible for approximately 4 percent of global sea level rise.

"We are discovering different mechanisms of retreat, ' Mr Milillo said".

The Thwaites glacier is slightly smaller than the total size of the United Kingdom, approximately the same size as the state of Washington, and is located in the Amundsen Sea. This data also shed some light on another concern about the glacier's grounding line, the point at which the glacier starts to depart from land and float on the sea.

If this mysterious glacier were to "go bad"-glaciologist-speak for the process by which a glacier breaks down into icebergs and eventually collapses into the ocean-it might be more than a scientific curiosity".

The gaping mouth is located at the base of the Thwaites Glaciers, which is considered by many to be one of the most risky in the world due to its massive size. In this locale, as the tide rises and falls, the establishing line retreats and progresses over a zone of around 2 to 3 miles (3 to 5 kilometers).

These results highlighted that ice-ocean interactions were more complex than previously understood.



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