Scientists have discovered hot water currents at the bottom of the Thwaites Glacier. These can pose enormous threats to climate change.
Antarctica – Scientists are already calling the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica the “Doomsday Glacier”. The reason for this is that, together with the Pines Glacier in West Antarctica, it keeps the ice masses from the South Pacific. As soon as it can no longer do that, the sea level will rise immensely faster than before.
According to spectrum researcher Karen Heywood from the University of East Anglia and her team explored the underside of the glacier for the first time. She shared the result of her expedition in Science Advances With. The data show that the glacier is worse than expected.
Doomsday glacier: diving robots detect previously undiscovered hot water channel
The information gathered by a self-diving robot revealed that hot water currents run on the underside of the Thwaites Glacier. These ensure that the glacier is hollowed out from below. Therefore, it is quite possible that the part of the ice that touches the sea floor will be less. This pushes the entire glacier towards the mainland. This approach also accelerates the melting process, as new areas are exposed to the hot water.
The diving robot found three hot water channels under the glacier, including one that was still completely unknown. In one of the three channels alone, the scientists found that there was a thermal energy of around 0.9 terawatts. This energy alone melts over 75 cubic kilometers of ice every year – more than 25 times as much as water in Lake Starnberg.
Doomsday Glacier: Scientists fear catastrophic rise in sea levels
But that’s not all: The scientists also found that a large amount of the warm water flows exactly where the glacier is still on the seabed. As a result of the melting, the glacier loses its equilibrium and stability. This in turn leads to faster melting.
If the glacier were to break up, it would cause the ice masses behind it to drift freely into the sea. This would cause sea levels to rise far too quickly and have catastrophic effects on the world’s climate. The melting of the glaciers in West Antarctica is already responsible for around ten percent of the world’s rising sea levels. 40 percent of it because of the Thwaites Glacier alone. Scientists had already identified the devastating effects of climate change on the Gulf Stream. Just recently, researchers in the Antarctica discovered life in a borehole.
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