One of the most firmly watched icy masses on the planet could before long melt surprisingly quickly, a shift that could prompt an unexpected increase in the sea levels.
Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier popularly called the "Doomsday" glacier could result in continuous melting due to unwanted climatic changes. It could shrink at twice the rate than it was supposed to in recent years, according to a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
The study shifted focus over to the body's previous movement to foresee how it could move in the future. The discoveries depended on the Thwaites Glacier’s imprints on the seabed, permitting researchers to track the glacier’s movement along the seabed from as long as 100 years back. Satellite imaging up to now has given the glacier’s movement going back only around 30 years.
While studying various factors, the researchers found that the glacier was shrinking at over 1.3 miles per year around 100 years ago. This rate was twice as fast as the movements noticed in the glacier from 2011 to 2019.
The co-author of the study, Anna Wåhlin, a professor of physical oceanography at Sweden’s Gothenburg University said the glacier retreated faster about 100 years ago than it is currently retreating.
Scientists dread the glacier's retreat before long melt past an edge on the seabed and arrive at an enormous ice-filled basin inland, where the additional volume of ice implies the retreating glacier will contribute more to rising sea levels.
Several boxes of Thwaites glacier may be encountering a quicker retreat from now on: It is retreating once more into a deeper basin; it is in touch with warm sea flows; it has an exceptionally huge catchment region that stores a lot of ice," Wåhlin said.
Thwaites Glacier, which is one of Antarctica's largest glaciers, is equal to about the size of Florida. Though, being such a huge glacier, it accounts for only around 5% of Antarctica's contributions to the world's sea-level changes.
Past studies recommended the ice shelf could fall into the ocean as soon as 2031. The breakdown of the whole icy mass into the seas could make the world's oceans rise by up to 2 feet. Its future behavior has been studied, and it is viewed as a bellwether for the consequences of climate change.
"Precisely how huge a danger there is tragically still hard to answer — yet the way that we at last have a data point that the models can tie back to is an important part of the puzzle," Wåhlin said.