Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Scientists are concerned about the stability of Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier, which holds back large amounts of land ice. Image courtesy of NASA.

Climate Change

Doomsday Glacier Could Retreat At Existentially Risky Rate

A massive Antarctic glacier is less stable and could potentially cause more and more rapid sea level rise than previously predicted, a study published Monday in Nature Geoscience finds. The Thwaites Glacier, known as the “doomsday glacier” because it holds enough water to raise global sea levels by multiple feet, is especially susceptible to rising ocean temperatures caused by climate change because it rests on the seabed and can thus be melted from underneath. After conducting an extensive mapping of the ocean floor, researchers found that at some point in the last 200 years, the base of the glacier dislodged from the seabed and retreated at double its recent rate of retreat.

If Thwaites underwent another such rapid retreat, the results could be “existential,” University of South Florida marine geologist Alastair Graham, a co-author of the study, told the Washington Post.

The specter of the rapid disintegration of the Thwaites Glacier comes as Greenland — which lost enough ice in one weekend this summer to put West Virginia under a foot of water — recorded its largest September ice melt on record. “This [September] event demonstrates how global warming does not only increase the intensity but also the length of the melting season,” Maurice van Tiggelen, a polar scientist from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, told the Washington Post.

Sources: Thwaites: Washington Post $, CNN, The Hill, CBS, USA Today, ABC, Business Insider, NBC, CNN, USA Today; Greenland: Washington Post $; Climate Signals background: Glacier and ice sheet melt, Sea level rise

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Written By

A syndicated newswire covering climate, energy, policy, art and culture.


You May Also Like

Climate Change

Perhaps the most iconic photo of the Mount St. Helens eruption is one with a Ford Pinto in the foreground. Sure, there are some...

Climate Change

Geneva, 17 May 2023 (WMO) — Global temperatures are likely to surge to record levels in the next five years, fueled by heat-trapping greenhouse...

Climate Change

Satellites reveal widespread decline in global lake water storage. Climate change, human consumption and sedimentation led to decline.


Native Floridians have struggled adapting to life as the timeless quality and charm of old Florida are being lost as a result of overdevelopment....

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.