Antarctica has been constantly losing ice in the last decades as global warming became more pronounced. A new threat is now coming from the depths.
A team of researchers discovered that huge space is rapidly forming under West Antarctica, a region that is quite big, on par with almost 66% of the surface that is occupied by Manhattan.
The gaping mouth is located at the base of the Thwaites Glaciers, which is considered by many to be one of the most dangerous in the world due to its massive size. The cavity was once filled with approximately 14 billion tons of ice and the huge amount melted in less than 3 years. An advanced satellite that is able to use a radar array that can penetrate the thick layers of ice was the primary tool that led to the discovery. Further research revealed that the newly-discovered gap is a part of a series of patterns depict de accelerated rhythm at which ice melts in the area.
It seems that scientist will be able to learn more about the interaction between water and ice as new mechanisms of retreat were also spotted.
The glacier has become a case study since the researchers are attempting to learn how the cavity will influence the speed at which the glacier melts. It is thought that the water that comes from Thwaites represents up to 5% of the seal level rise that is now taking place around the earth.
If the entire glacier would melt the level of the sea would rise by approximately 2 feet or 65 centimeters. The main problem is posed by the fact that the glacier is currently blocking other glaciers and ice masses from leaving the surrounding territory. In the worst case scenario the consequences would lead to a planetary calamity.
A major expedition is now assembled in order to explore the glacier and learn if anything can be done in order to hamper the progress of the phenomenon.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca