The Thwaites glacier, the same size as the UK, already throws 50 billion tons of ice into the ocean every year – the huge Antarctic Thwaites Glacier, known as the “apex glacier” because of the acute danger of its melt, could only continue for “just a few more years” because its premature collapse due to global warming threatens to increase ocean elevation by 65 cm.

The glacier, equivalent to the size of Florida or the United Kingdom, is already responsible for about 4% of global sea level rise annually, losing some 50 billion tons of ice every year, and being made extremely vulnerable by the climate crisis.

Scientists have observed the glacier for years, whose current melting is contributing to about 4 percent of annual sea level rise.

But hot water has seeped into the glacier, making it melt, and the ice shelf seems to be slowly losing its foothold on an underwater mountain that supports it.

On the other side of the globe, a heat wave in Siberia during summer 2020 set a record for the Arctic at 38 degrees Celsius, experts said.

Thwaites Glacier melts because of a combination of warm air and water temperature caused at least in part by climate change, adding to its instability.

Warm seawater is gradually wiping out the ice below, so water flows faster, ice breaks more and the threat of collapse is getting closer.

The Thwaites is part of the West Antarctic ice sheet, an area about as big as India.



Thwaites Glacier

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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)


Sea level rise

Tide gauge measurements show that the current global sea level rise began at the start of the 20th century. Between 1900 and 2017, the globally averaged sea level rose by 16–21 cm . (wikipedia)


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)


University of Colorado Boulder

The University of Colorado Boulder is a public research university in Boulder, Colorado. It is the flagship university of the University of Colorado system, and was founded in 1876, (wikipedia)