Washington: Vital ice shelves of two major Antarctic glaciers are breaking loose giving rise to the possibility that sea level might rise.
A new study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences earlier this week included satellite images showing two massive glaciers in the West Antarctic are experiencing rapid ice loss at their most vulnerable points.
The study is part of a five-year $50 million project under the International Thwaites Glacier collaboration and its results are deeply concerning.
The researchers have found that the two glaciers were growing increasingly weakened at their foundations, prompting fears of a collapse of their ice shelves in the not-so-distant future.
The melting of West Antarctica’s glaciers, and Thwaites in particular – also referred to as the Doomsday glacier – is already well known but the study provides greater insight into the extent of disintegration to be expected in the coming years.
The study said Thwaites, with a mass of 192,000 square km, nearly the size of Great Britain, is largely viewed as one of the most unstable glacial streams.
Although the ice in East Antarctica is thick while resting on high ground, West Antarctica is an entirely different story.