In Antarctica, a glacier the size of Florida is losing ice sooner than ever before.
Sections of the Thwaite’s Glacier are retreating by up to 2,625 feet per year, contributing to 4% of sea-level rise worldwide. That ice loss is a part of a broader trend: The complete Antarctic ice sheet is melting almost 6 times as fast as it did 40 years in the past. Within the 1980s, Antarctica lost 40 billion tons of ice yearly. Within the last decade, that number jumped to a median of 252 billion tons per year.
Now, authors of a brand new research report that over the past six years, the speed at which five Antarctic glaciers slough off the ice has doubled. That makes the Thwaite’s Glacier a melting time bomb.
The scientists reported within the journal Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences that the glacier poses the most significant risk to future sea-stage rise and is likely marching in the direction of an irreversible melting level.
“After reaching the tipping point, Thwaite’s Glacier might lose all of its ice in 150 years,” Hélène Seroussi, an author of the research and a NASA scientist, mentioned in a press release. “That will make for a sea-level rise of about half a meter (1.64 ft).”
Alex Robel, another research author, added that if the glacier had been to cross that Rubicon, nothing might stop the ice melt — even if Earth’s temperatures stopped rising.
“It should keep going by itself, and that is the worry,” he mentioned.