‘Doomsday glacier’ is closer to disaster than scientists thought, new seafloor map shows

Researcher aboard the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer as it sits in front of the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica. (Image credit: Alexandra Mazur/University of Gothenburg)

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Underwater robots peering under Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier, nicknamed the “Doomsday Glacier,” saw that its doom could come sooner than expected with an extreme increase in ice loss. A detailed map of the seabed surrounding the ice giant has revealed that the glacier underwent periods of rapid retreat within the last few centuries, which could again be caused by melting driven by climate change.

Thwaites Glacier is a massive chunk of ice – about the same size as the US state of Florida or the entire United Kingdom – that is slowly melting into the ocean off the West. Antarctica. The glacier got its ominous nickname because of the “spine-chilling” implications of its total meltdown, which could raise global sea levels between 3 and 10 feet (0.9 and 3 meters). the researchers said in a statement. Due to climate change, the frozen mass is retreating twice as fast as 30 years ago and is losing about 50 billion tons (45 billion metric tons) of ice annually, according to Thwaites Glacier International Collaboration.

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