An increase in sea level of 50cm would mean the storm that used to come every thousand years will now come every 100 years. Officially called the Thwaites Glacier, this mass of ice nestled into the western edge of Antarctica is melting at an alarming rate. As the glacier melts, the fresh water therefore tends to flow upwards, drawing up the heavier warmer sea water behind it. ‘Extraordinary thinning’ of ice sheets revealed deep inside Antarctica, 'Precipitous' fall in Antarctic sea ice since 2014 revealed. .css-14iz86j-BoldText{font-weight:bold;}The images are murky at first. .css-8h1dth-Link{font-family:ReithSans,Helvetica,Arial,freesans,sans-serif;font-weight:700;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;color:#FFFFFF;}.css-8h1dth-Link:hover,.css-8h1dth-Link:focus{-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;}Read about our approach to external linking. Sediment sweeps past the camera as Icefin, a bright yellow remotely operated robot submarine, moves tentatively forward under the ice. © 2020 BBC. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It will take years to process all the information the team has gathered and incorporate the findings into the models that are used to project future sea level rise. The principle is simple - you heat the water with a bank of boilers to just below boiling point and then spray it onto the ice, melting your way down. What appears to be happening is that deep warm ocean water is flowing to the coast and down to the ice front, melting the glacier. Sea level rise linked to warming has already been linked with increased coastal flooding and storm surges. That's a harbinger of a coming collapse—and sea level rise. Antarctica faces a tipping point where glacial melting will accelerate and become irreversible even if global heating eases, research suggests. Thwaites glacier, which is part of the west Antarctic ice sheet, has lost an estimated 540bn tonnes of ice since the 1980s. I camped on the ice for a month, some of the scientists will be out there for far longer, two months or more. “It will keep going by itself and that’s the worry,” he said. Research and graphics by Alison Trowsdale, Becky Dale Lilly Huynh, Irene de la Torre. At one stage, the entire season's research is on the point of being cancelled because storms stop all flights to West Antarctica from McMurdo for 17 consecutive days. In some places the great sheet of ice has broken up completely, collapsing into a jumble of massive icebergs which float in drunken chaos. They will use the hole to get access to the sea water that is melting the glacier to find out where it is from and why it is attacking the glacier so vigorously. New studies show fractures on surface ice and warm seawater melting the ice from underneath. amp video_youtube Sep 14. bookmark_border. A Nasa-funded study found instability in the Thwaites glacier meant there would probably come a point when it was impossible to stop it flowing into the sea and triggering a 50cm sea level rise. There is enough water locked up in it to raise world sea level by more than half a metre. There is no mistaking the epic forces at work here, slowly tearing, ripping and shattering the ice. See the Huge Crack in West Antarctica Before Iceberg Broke Off July 13, 2017 - A giant iceberg the size of Delaware has broken off the Larsen C Ice Shelf in West Antarctica. Ice shelves act as “dams” that help keep land-bound glaciers in place. A new island has been discovered off the coast of Antarctica thanks to melting glaciers. As the glacier retreats back, yet more ice is exposed. "The amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic ice sheet increased at least six-fold between 1979 and 2017," Ms Nullis added, citing images showing cracks in glaciers in Antarctica. An Antarctic island that was once hidden has been uncovered after melting glaciers caused by high temperatures revealed its shore. It is very frustrating to be forced to leave before the hole is finished and the instruments have been deployed, especially given how long it took to get here. Glaciologists have described Thwaites as the "most important" glacier in the world, the "riskiest" glacier, even the "doomsday" glacier. But warm water transforms the process, according to the scientists. "The fear is these processes will just accelerate," she says. And Thwaites sits like a keystone right in the centre of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet - a vast basin of ice that contains more than 3m of additional potential sea level rise. By then we have been joined by some of the scientists. Two ice-hardened ships docked alongside an ice cliff at the foot of the Antarctic Peninsula during the last Antarctic summer. The higher the ice cliff, she says, the more "smooshing" the glacier wants to do. A Nasa-funded study found instability in … This heavy salty water is carried by a deep ocean current called the Atlantic conveyor all the way down to the south Atlantic. We sit in the mess tent playing cards and drinking tea and the scientists discuss why the glacier is retreating so rapidly. It took more than a dozen flights by the US Antarctic programme's fleet of huge ski-equipped Hercules cargo planes just to get the scientists and some of their cargo to the project's main staging post in the middle of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. By early January, the flubber is full and all the equipment is ready but then we get a warning that yet another storm is on its way. The scientists had told me that we had been camped on what is basically a small bay of ice protected by a horseshoe of raised ground. Antarctica's colossal Thwaites Glacier is melting fast -- and scientists may have discovered why By Emma Reynolds, CNN Updated 12:19 PM ET, Wed September 9, 2020 Unlike the melting of ice sheets on land, sea ice melting does not raise sea levels but the loss of the reflective white ice leads to more of the sun’s heat being absorbed in the ocean, increasing the pace of heating. Photograph: Alex Mazur/International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration. At its deepest point, the base of the glacier is more than a mile below sea level and there is another mile of ice on top of that. The Thwaites glacier is similar in size and shape to Idaho. Other Antarctic glaciers were likely to be similarly unstable. 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2020 antarctica glacier melting news