Doomsday Glacier in Antarctica is losing ice at the highest rate seen in 5.500 years, raising worries about the future of the ice sheet and the threat of a devastating rise in sea level for the frozen continent from melting ice.

This comes after it was found to have analysed prehistoric sediment found on the coast around ‘doomsday’ Thwaites Glacier and neighbouring Pine Island Glacier, both located on the West Antarctic ice sheet.

Antarctic ice melt driven by climate change is progressing more rapidly than at any time in history, researchers report in the journal Nature Geoscience (to be published in the new journal).

“These currently elevated rates of ice melting may signal that those vital arteries from the heart of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet have been ruptured, leading to accelerating flow into the ocean that is potentially disastrous for future global sea level in a warming world,” study co-author Dylan Rood, an Earth researcher for Imperial College London, said in a release.

As one of Antarctica’s most rapidly melting glaciers, Thwaites deserves the nickname “Doomsday Glacier.”

If the whole West Antarctic ice sheet breaks off and melts into the sea, it would raise global sea levels by about 3.4 metres.

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