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Thwaites Glacier : Important Points

The Thwaites Glacier:

Researchers at the Sweden’s University of Gothenburg are now saying that fears related to the melting of Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier are worse than previously thought, owing to the supply of warm water flowing underneath at a rate underestimated in the past.

  • The Thwaites Glacier is 120 km wide at its broadest, fast-moving, and melting fast over the years.
  • Because of its size (1.9 lakh square km), it contains enough water to raise the world sea level by more than half a meter. Studies have found the amount of ice flowing out of it has nearly doubled over the past 30 years.
  • Today, Thwaites’s melting already contributes 4% to global sea-level rise each year. It is estimated that it would collapse into the sea in 200-900 years.
  • Thwaites is important for Antarctica as it slows the ice behind it from freely flowing into the ocean. Because of the risk it faces and poses Thwaites is often called the Doomsday Glacier.
  • The grounding line is the place below a glacier at which the ice transitions between resting fully on bedrock and floating on the ocean as an ice shelf. The location of the line is a pointer to the rate of retreat of a glacier.
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