A large ice shelf in Antarctica could break within 5 years

The Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica is seen in this undated NASA image.

Source: NASA via Reuters

An ice shelf containing an important Antarctic glacier could break within the next 5 years, scientists warning on monday during a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

The paper-sized Thwaites Glacier in Florida, has caused about 4% of global annual sea level rise as it slowly melts into the ocean. However, the glacier sits on an easily damaged ice shelf due to newly discovered cracks in its surface and a large crack across the entire shelf, according to satellite images.

Hotter ocean temperatures, partly due to anthropogenic climate change, are eroding the eastern ice shelf. If the shelf were to rupture, the glacier’s contribution to sea level rise could increase by as much as 25%, scientists say.

Antarctic ice loss has been exacerbated in recent years and research to show that that a dangerous amount of sea level would occur if the globe warming reached about 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. The earth has warmed in excess of one degree Celsius.

Theo for Oregon State University glaciologist Erin Pettit.

During the meeting, the scientists said they had targeted weak and strong parts of the shelf and concluded that faults would follow a “zig-zag” path through the ice and eventually cause the shelf to crack. break within the next 5 years.

Global sea level will rise by 2 to 6 feet by 2100 on current trajectory, driven mainly by melting in Greenland and Antarctica, based on NASA satellite data. However, scientists have warned that the projections underestimate the impact of climate change on sea level rise. A large ice shelf in Antarctica could break within 5 years


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