The melting of glaciers has not been perceived for a long timesomething abnormal and surprising. This process is happening all over the planet. For example, in Africa very soon there will be no glaciers at all. The Arctic is also melting, but most of all scientists are concerned about the melting of glaciers in Antarctica. We regularly hear that this or that glacier cracked, and then broke away from the mainland and went on a free voyage. Sometimes these glaciers are real giants, but they all pale against the backdrop of the Thwaites Glacier. The latter is considered the largest and most dangerous. Scientists fear not only its destruction in itself, but also the possible consequences. According to experts, it can disrupt the so-called balance of glaciers, that is, provoke a domino effect, as a result of which other glaciers located next to it will “crawl” into the water. Unfortunately, according to a study by American scientists, the destruction of the Thwaites Glacier is already a foregone conclusion. Moreover, this will happen in the next five years, which will lead to a serious rise in sea levels.
Thwaites glacier - what is known about it
According to experts - Thwaites by areaexceeds all other glaciers on Earth. It is located in the western part of the mainland. Over the past few decades, this ice giant has begun to actively melt. His water outflow rate has doubled. Its contribution to the rise in sea level, at the moment, is 4%. But if the glacier melts, its share in the rise in sea level will be all 25%. As a result, the water will rise by more than half a meter. However, as I said above, this is not the worst scenario yet.
If the "domino effect", about which I amsaid earlier, the rise in the water level at this mark will not stop. According to experts, the world ocean in this case can rise by three meters. Therefore, Thwaites are also called “Doomsday Glacier”. Needless to say, this scenario will be catastrophic for coastal regions.
Doomsday glacier prepares to separate from the mainland
The reason Thwaites isn't sailing yetthe vastness of the ocean (thereby catastrophically raising the water level in it), lies in the fact that it rests against the bottom of the bottom in shallow water. That is, the friction force serves as a kind of anchor, as a result of which it moves towards the coast at a low speed. However, as shown by a recent study, the connection of the glacier to the bottom has been greatly weakened. This suggests that almost nothing is holding him back.
One of the evidence of this is the recentthe appearance of a large number of cracks, which are directed to the center of the ice shelf at a speed of 2 km per year. This information was confirmed by satellite data, georadar and echolocation. Therefore, there can be no mistake.
As the researchers note, the central partThe glacier has no obvious cracks that would come out to the surface, with the exception of one channel directed parallel to the movement of the ice. In this area, the researchers say, there is a weak zone.
According to the data obtained during the study.Propagating cracks are likely to cross the weak zone. As a result, this will lead to the separation of most of the glacier from the anchorage point, abutting against the bottom. Ultimately, these processes will lead to the rapid and complete destruction of the glacier.
Abnormal heat source under Thwaites
Earlier this year, scientists discovered that underThuates has a source of heat. This is stated in a study published in the journal Nature Communications Earth & Environment. As scientists assume, the glacier from below is heated by geothermal springs.
As a result, the lower part of the Thwaites is actively melting,which serves as the very anchor that I mentioned above. Accordingly, this leads to the fact that the ice slides along the surface of the bottom, as a result of which the glacier begins to accelerate and cracks appear in it.
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Apparently, the process of destruction of the glacier is no longerdisgust. However, humanity can still avoid the destruction of other glaciers. For this, as has been said many times, it is necessary to reduce the amount of emitted greenhouse gases. I recently talked about how the Arctic is also facing major changes. The region can become rainy, which will lead not only to the melting of ice, but also the mass death of Arctic animals.