A huge thphites glacier in western Antarctica contains enough ice to add a quarter inch to global sea levels should it collapse altogether.

Increasing global sea level by 65 cm would transform the shoreline.

The glacier would also cover vast swathes of coastline, mainly swallowing up low land-locked island countries such as Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Maldives.

For example, Sea levels have gone up by some 20cm since 1900, a rate that has already driven coastal communities from their homes, exacerbating environmental problems such as floods, saltwater pollution, and habitat loss.

Since 2000 the net glacier loss has exceeded 1.000 billion tonnes of ice and this has been steadily increasing throughout the past three decades.

Other Unstable Glaciers The ice shelf, considered a floating extension of Thwaites Glacier, is one of several that scientists are closely monitoring in the Amundsen Basin, West Antarctica.

The eastern ice shelf now has cracks which run right back and forth throughout its surface and may collapse within a decade, according to Erin Pettit, a glaciologist at Oregon State University.

Warmer seawater will be allowed to undermine this floating ice shelf, which is propelling downward melting that will thin and weaken the ice, allowing any cracks and faults noted on the surface to develop.


Erin Pettit

Erin Christine Pettit is an American glaciologist focusing on climate change. She is an associate professor of geophysics and glaciology at Oregon State University. (wikipedia)


Oregon State University

Oregon State University is a public land-grant research university in Corvallis, Oregon. (wikipedia)

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Thwaites Glacier

Thwaites Glacier, sometimes referred to as the Doomsday Glacier, is an unusually broad and vast Antarctic glacier flowing into Pine Island Bay, part of the Amundsen Sea, east of Mount Murphy, (wikipedia)