Alert: ‘doomsday glacier’ about to collapse!

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Ana Flávia Martins weathered Brazil yesterday 6 min How do glaciers react to climate change scenarios? The so-called “Apocalypse Glacier”, “Doomsday Glacier” or “Apocalypse Glacier” is located in West Antarctica. It is considered one of the largest glaciers in the world and is about 120 km wide and 600 km long. Its original name is Thwaites Glacier, and these nicknames refer to the high risk of collapse and the threat to global sea levels. According to NASA, this is a fraction of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet that contains enough ice to raise sea levels by 4.8 meters. And as the climate crisis continues, this region has been noted for its rapid melting and extensive capacity for coastal destruction. Scientists try to make global predictions about sea level rise. This huge ice mass is already in a phase of rapid retreat (a “collapse” on a geologic time scale), raising concerns about when or how quickly it might release its ice into the ocean. According to scientists, with its complete melting, the level of the oceans would tend to rise between 0.91 and 3.05 meters, threatening about 40% of the human population living in coastal areas. The images collected by the Rán vehicle they showed geological novelties. to science Source: Alastair Graham, University of South Florida. This glacier has worried scientists for decades. In 1973, researchers wondered if the risk of collapse was high. Almost ten years later, it was discovered that because the glacier is anchored to the sea floor, warm ocean currents can melt it from below and destabilize it. From there, scientists began to regard the region around Thwaites as “the weak point of West Antarctica”. Ocean currents can melt the glacier from below, to the point where it is considered the weak point of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. In 2001, satellite data showed that the land line was receding at about 1 km/year. In 2020, it was discovered that hot water was melting the glacier from below. As early as 2021, a study showed that the ice shelf, which helps stabilize the glacier, could break up within five years. In a paper published in September in Nature Geoscience, experts from the United States, the United Kingdom and Sweden analyzed the seabed near the glacier and its geological formations, with the aim of mapping, for the first time and in high resolution, his historic retreat. The expedition took place in 2019 and involved a state-of-the-art robotic vehicle loaded with imaging sensors, called the Rán, which can withstand extreme pressure and temperature conditions. This team spent nearly 20 hours collecting images and data from the ocean floor of Thwaites Glacier. The robot mapped an area equivalent to the city of Houston (USA) at a depth of 700 meters. The team documented more than 160 ridges that were created, like a “geological footprint”, when the edge of the glacier back, up and down. with the tides, helping to understand what might happen in the future. What are the main findings of this study? The results showed that at some point in the last 200 years, for a period of less than six months, the front of the glacier lost contact with a ridge on the ocean floor and retreated – or collapsed – at a speed of more than 2.1 km/h per year. That’s double the rate scientists have observed over the past decade. Energy crisis: Paris is starting to cut corners… They also show that the bulky structure of Antarctica is capable of melting at a faster rate than expected in a short period of time, raising concerns about sea ​​level rise and the risk to coastal cities. According to the scientists, this research represents a major change in perspective. In the past, ice sheet responses to climate change were thought to take longer to occur. Today, recent geological information confirms that these reactions are occurring faster than expected.
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