Doomsday Glacier May Soon Spill Into The Sea

Researchers have discovered disturbing signs at the southern end of the planet, particularly in one of the ice shelves safeguarding the Antarctic’s so-called “Doomsday glacier.” If the ice shelf shatters, the Thwaites Glacier could collapse, putting coastal communities and low-lying island nations at risk.

The recent results point to a collapse of the Ross Ice Shelf, which would contribute to sea level rise. Scientists are predicting the catastrophic failure of the Ice Shelf as soon as the next five years.

Antarctica‘s Thwaites glacier is known as the “Doomsday glacier” due to its serious risk during its melting process. It has dumped billions of tons of ice into the sea, and its demise could lead to irreversible changes throughout the planet.

Warm ocean waters are driving the rapid deterioration of the Thwaites Glacier, and the glacier’s ice tongue is now a “loose cluster of icebergs.” Warm and salty ocean waters also threaten the grounding zone.

Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier is rapidly deteriorating, and the warm ocean water is slowly erasing the ice underneath, causing water to flow faster, fracturing more of the ice, and bringing the looming threat of a collapse even closer.

Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado Boulder and a leader of the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, said the process of ice loss in the Arctic is highly slow-moving, and actual impacts won’t be felt for several decades. But the researchers say slowing the process is the best path to take as the ramifications of the climate crisis spread.

“What is attention-getting about Thwaites is that the change will proceed with fairly dramatic, measurable results within the next few decades,”

For more on this story, please consider these sources:

  1. Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday Glacier’ Melting at Fastest Rate in 5500 Years – Smithsonian Magazine
  2. Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday Glacier’ keeps scientists at bay with iceberg and sea ice – The Guardian
  3. Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday Glacier’ could meet its doom within 3 years – Live Science
John Nightbridge is a veteran reporter, researcher, and economic policy major from UCLA. Passionate about world issues and potential ways to solve them is a significant focus of his work. Writing freelance and reading the news are John's passions at work. Outside of work, it's all about sky diving, surfing, and stock market modeling.