Monday, 19 August, 2019

Giant Void Hidden Under Antarctica’s Ice Threatens Vast Glacier

017 thwaites glacer Thwaites Glacier
Sandra Phillips | 03 February, 2019, 12:00

Researchers say the cavity would once have been large enough to hold some 14 billion tonnes of ice. If the entire glacier melted, the resulting water could raise world ocean levels by more than 2 feet (65 centimeters), the researchers said.

Changes in surface height at Thwaites Glacier's grounding line, 2011 to 2017, with sinking areas in red and rising areas in blue. The size and the extremely fast growth of the cavity is surprised but then they.

"Thanks to a new generation of satellites, we can finally see the detail".

NASA's Operation IceBridge, launched in 2010, uses ice-penetrating radar to measure the rate of melting in some of the most remote and inhospitable regions in the world. Researchers combined the NASA data with data from Italian and German spaceborne synthetic aperture radars.

The huge hole - measuring nearly 1,000 feet (300 meters) tall - was found growing at an "explosive rate" at the bottom of a glacier in West Antarctica, said NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a statement Wednesday.

That's important to know, since Thwaites now accounts for about 4 percent of global sea level rise.

NASA has recently revealed the existence of an unknown yawning cavity, that's placed at the bottom of the Thwaites Glacier. As such, the scientists find the need to make detailed observations of the undersides of Antarctic's glaciers to see how quickly global sea levels will rise in relation to climate change-related ice melt. According to current readings, sections of the ice shelf are retreating by as much as 800 meters (2,625 ft) every year.

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The US National Science Foundation and British National Environmental Research Council have initiated a five-year field project, The International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration.

Scientists have discovered a big cavity forming in the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica.

NASA reported that Thwaites Glacier is now responsible for approximately 4 percent of global sea level rise.

"We are discovering different mechanisms of retreat, ' Mr Milillo said".

The glacier has been coming unstuck from a ridge in the bedrock at a steady rate of about 0.6 to 0.8 kilometers a year since 1992.

The complex pattern the new readings reveal - which don't fit with current ice sheet or ocean models - suggest scientists have more to learn about how water and ice interact with one another in the frigid but warming Antarctic environment. The findings also show that the grounding line - where the ice meets the bedrock - migrates over a much larger scale than previously thought due to tidal mixing, and includes channels under parts of the ice that give warm water greater access to the interior part of the glacier. The fastest retreat of floating ice is about a half mile a year with various areas thinning at up to 650 feet per year.

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