Doomsday Glacier: Scientists hit 'disaster' button after chilling discovery

Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier's complete melt to raise sea levels by 10 feet

Web Desk
Antarctica’s Thwaites or "Doomsday" Glacier could increase seas flooding coastal cities. — AFP

World's top glaciologists in a new study have concluded that Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier also known as "Doomsday Glacier" is melting faster than expected as ocean waters have started gushing miles beneath the widest area on the continent.

The Doomsday Glacier is  located east of Mount Murphy, is the most unstable and the largest part of the continent, equal to the size of Florida, according to CNN.

When the relatively warm and salty water hits the ice, it triggers a meltdown underneath the Doomsday Glacier, prompting a massive rise in sea levels more than estimated earlier.

The findings have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The West Antarctician glacier is the most unstable because of the slops on its land downward, which cause water to take away its frozen parts.

The amount of water Thwaites holds is enough to increase the sea levels by over 2 feet, as its already set share in global sea level rise is 4%. Experts estimated that its complete melt would result in a surge of sea levels by 10 feet, destroying coastal areas and countries.

Eric Rignot, professor of Earth system science at the University of California at Irvine and a co-author on the study, said: "In the past, we had only sporadic data to look at this. In this new data set, which is daily and over several months, we have solid observations of what is going on."

Rignot told CNN: "They observed seawater pushing beneath the glacier over many miles, and then moving out again, following the daily rhythm of the tides. When the water flows in, it’s enough to jack up the surface of the glacier by centimeters."

According to the findings, the term "grounding zone" may be more apt than grounding line, as it can move nearly 4 miles over a 12-hour tidal cycle, the outlet reported.